Cut out “greenwashing” in 2008: a short guide to creating a real campaign

10 01 2008

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Design Goes Green – The first of a series of articles by Green Printer on the cross-section between the environment, business and the creative communications industry.

The market for sustainable goods and services is gigantic – an estimated $209 billion or 35 million consumers in the U.S. alone, according to a Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) study.

Think jumping on the “environmental-Armageddon-is-upon-us-we-are-doing something-about-it-hear-me-roar” business bandwagon will be easy? Think again.

With media and bloggers on the prowl for the next company who commits a “greenwashing” sin in 2008, a communications firm that does not “walk the talk” when it comes to launching your company’s green communication campaign is bound to spell profit and reputation disaster.

As the saying goes, “the true is often seen, rarely heard”, so pay attention to what the Account Executive does, not what she or he says. Do they use post-consumer recycled paper or better yet, electronic invoices? Or, do they suggest a tele-conference to avoid an emissions heavy client trip?

Think about it: why choose a pool of creative marketing geniuses to launch your eco-friendly product line – no matter how slick their office or eco-speak – when the same creative geniuses do not know better than to turn off the computer, avoid plastic bottles and cool off the air-conditioning habit?

In 2008, whether you plan to introduce a green service branch or make the leap to “green” your entire company from purchasing to operations, consider siding with communication gurus that already “walk the talk”.

Twenty-year veteran of creative communications, Colleen Connery, and owner of CoCo & Associates, one of the first U.S. graphic design firms to offer eco-friendly services, had already run her firm as “green” business for two years before launching a “go green” company campaign, ecoCoCo™.

Not a company to let their office environment don a mere green veneer, CoCo & Associates has run a green operation – inside and out – by using water, energy, wood and petroleum-based resources sparingly and in a sustainable way.

For instance, the ecoCoCo™ campaign swears by working and designing to natural light, banning bottled water bottles contributing to landfills and even recycling “used paper” and creating sketch books out of them for client projects (and then recycling them once they are used).

A hybrid company car purchase – with a custom ECO COCO license plate no less – is in the works for 2008.

And, so, as you set your sights on environmentally friendly policies and service offerings in 2008, consider these five elements of any long-reaching and ethical green communication campaign as per public relations clairvoyant Reid Wegley, especially as we fast approach the most significant global trend set to hit the news stands in 2008: global warming.

1. Research (Avoid the REC snafu)
2. Guarantee a Recipient/Benefit
3. Legal
4. Sustainability (only thing that matters)
5. Expectations (don’t expect coverage for good deeds)

And yes, those plastic bags are made from petroleum.



2 responses to “Cut out “greenwashing” in 2008: a short guide to creating a real campaign”

30 07 2008
maia iotzova (08:37:49) :

I am interested to hear and see people talking about Greenwashing. I am actually working on a poetic documentary that looks at out interactions with Green and Green Spaces and asks: What is really Green? And through our green patterns searches for the root of our conflict with nature.
If you don’t mind I will link this article to this blog.

Check out the teaser and read about the film at

Maia iotzova

12 06 2011
Maia Iotzova » Greenwashing (11:20:35) :

[…] read blog post about greenwashing today check it out if you are a […]

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