The Business of Going Green

For years there’s been a trend on going green, on reusable materials and on being environmentally friendly.   It has been a challenge for some businesses because the old ways of doing things are easy, especially if you’re not concerned about the environmental cost in the long or short term.  Some businesses give it a try or make some effort to do things right, but don’t lead with a green focus.  Other businesses have thrived in providing products and services that not only take into consideration the environment, but are products and services that are well made as well and do the job they’re being purchased to do.  Not only do businesses get brownie points for doing what’s good for the environment, but customers actively seek those businesses out because they are conscious about the impact their life and buying habits are having on the world we all share.

Customers are more willing to buy a “green” product or service that might not be quite as good in quality if they know they’re doing good for the earth. Some companies are also able to persuade customers into believing that a product is effective even if it’s not the greatest, and get away with it by talking about how green it is. But with both of those examples customers are still clearly attracted by how the product is made or service delivered as well as that it’s what they need or want.

Recently I read a headline about how a company is creating shirts out of…wait for it…unused milk.  No, that’s not a typo or misspelling or inaccurate word choice.  I didn’t read the article or choose to find anything about the company after reading the headline because I was quite frankly disgusted (and I’m not including a link here for the same reason).  I’m all for creating products that are smarter about how they use our resources, but the green movement hasn’t fully caught up with quality or demand in at least a couple of aspects.

Don’t get me wrong, this company would get a gold star for being creative, but business is about being more than just creative or saving the earth, it has to make good financial sense as well, and for good financial sense to be achieved it has to be making sales.  I don’t know about you, but I would not want to tell the world how proud I am to be wearing a shirt made from unused milk. I’m also not going to spread the word and tell my friends about this company that sells shirts made from milk.

When your customers aren’t proud of or excited by what you’re making and aren’t willing to share about their purchases with their friends, you quickly lose a great potential source of traffic and recommendations, and word of mouth is one of the reasons that many companies, especially small start-ups are successful today.  This story is a great reminder to make sure that your business is supplying something that there’s a need or demand for in the world. Have you recently confirmed that you’re still offering something people want and need?

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