Developing a greener offering

N°183a – Synopsis (8p.) – Environment and Climate
Developing a greener offering
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Customers now generally expect companies to be environmentally responsible. Businesses that ignore this expectation risk being sidelined!

The ability to propose an ecologically and socially responsible offering, far from being a passing fad, has become a distinguishing factor in the competitive landscape. Based on the findings of two surveys conducted by the Boston Consulting Group in October 2007 and October 2008, the authors of “Capturing the Green Advantage” demonstrate that demand for “responsible” products continues to grow even in times of economic uncertainty. Indeed, many companies observe that the B2B and B2C segments alike have increasingly high expectations concerning compliance to environmental and social norms.

Therefore, the big question today is not whether a company should develop a responsible offering as much as how to do it. Now, this is far from easy. Between products that never really take off and those accused of “greenwashing,” i.e., hiding a mixed ecological record behind “green” window dressing, the potential stumbling blocks are numerous. To avoid these pitfalls, the experts recommend three courses of action in particular:

– Be transparent about the overall impact of your offering. Focusing on your strengths without admitting your weaknesses could create the impression that you are trying to clear your conscience with a minimum of effort.

– Improve the ecological performance of the entire range rather than betting on specifically “green” products. Customers want to have a choice within a range that meets all of their performance criteria, rather than being forced to select products specially labeled as “green.”

– Do not spare your communication efforts. Consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to be more responsible, but often wish they had a clearer understanding of the concrete social and environmental implications of their choices.

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