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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Beyond Green: The Transformative Nature of Sustainability

Written by  Duane Bailey

When you think of products whose selling propositions are built around the promise of sustainability, which products come to mind? Green ones? Blue ones? How about gray ones?

If you said green ones, you might be right. Well, sort of. There is certainly no shortage of “green” products on the market today. Brands across many categories have added a green component to their products in an effort to appeal to one or more market niches, increase sales and demonstrate their commitment to the environment. Green products, as a whole, are largely considered alternatives to mainstream products and are often pricier. A common theme among green marketers is to ask consumers to make a positive change in one aspect of their consumption behavior, while permitting them to maintain the status quo with others.

Sustainability takes this call to action one step further. Sustainability is transformative. It seeks to reform the way we produce, consume and dispose of mainstream products.  Upstart brands like method®, the maker of non-toxic biodegradable home and personal care products, market goods that are designed to reduce health risks, waste and water pollution. Their products are priced comparably to others in their category, sold in aesthetically-pleasing recyclable packaging and available through mainstream and specialty retailers alike (e.g., Target, Whole Foods, etc.).

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For method®, sustainability includes a focus on health, community and environmental impacts. Products like its naturally-derived, 2-in-1 dish and hand soap come packaged in a gray bottle made with recycled ocean plastic. Each bottle includes a blue tag around its neck with a short story of how method® is seeking to change the way we view the impact our consumption and disposal habits are having on our environment:

 "it's estimated that several million tons of plastic makes its way into our oceans every year, polluting the environment and hurting our marine populations...we're on a mission to change that. that's why the ocean plastic used to make the bottle you're holding was collected by us, method employees. we know we can't return the ocean to it's pristine condition, but we can raise awareness of the importance of reusing the plastic that's already here. that's something. [and] that's why I'm gray."

The next time you think of sustainability, don’t just think “green.” Think about the gray bottle atop your kitchen sink and the transformative nature of what it represents. Now that's something.

For other insights on sustainability and green marketing, please see:
• Simple Sells When Going Green
• A FRESH Approach to Going Green
• Maximum Fun Meets Minimal Impact

Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey is a regular contributor to The Chief Storyteller® online conversation. He has helped organizations of all sizes drive growth in revenues and market share through the development and delivery of key business messages that resonate with target audiences. He holds an MBA in International Business and a BS in Marketing. He brings 28 years of experience in marketing communications and high technology sales.

Website: www.TheChiefStoryteller.com E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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