Can you afford not to go green

Sustainability has become a common term in marketing. More businesses and brands are focusing on promoting their environmental credentials as they become aware of how influential these values are on consumer purchasing decisions and which service providers customers want to deal with.

Can you afford not to go green

Sustainable branding and promotion are powerful ways to increase revenue and gain customer trust and loyalty. It may sound a bit like a self-serving strategy but it’s not necessarily a bad thing if at the end of it all the environment benefits. Afterall, in order for a business to promote sustainability it first has to implement eco -practices!

One of the leading business trends predicted for 2022 is sustainable business*. Not only will this be driven by legislative pressure to reduce carbon emissions and waste, but customer demand will continue to increase as consumers are become more conscious about what they buy.

With sustainability being such a key driver why is it that all not print companies are diving in head first?

Some of the common concerns I hear from businesses about investing in green is “We can’t afford it r “, “Our customers won’t pay for it” or “None of our customers are asking us about it “

“We can’t afford it”

It is understandable that in the current climate companies are weary. Covid has been extremely disruptive to business and created a climate of uncertainty and instability. It may not seem like the right time to be investing in something new when we are just trying to get back to how things were.

Sustainability and profitability however, need not be mutually exclusive. Businesses are finding that integrating sustainability into their core business does not have to be at the cost of profit. In fact, it’s the opposite. Applying green processes to the workplace can actually lower costs, reduce the waste of resources, reduce risk and create new opportunities.

There are lots of easy and cost- effective changes you can make. Going green doesn’t have to be installing solar panels, changing your fleet to electric or buying a new printer. It can be about saving energy, using resources more efficiently, reducing waste and recycling. Sustainability is a very broad term that is simply defined as something that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” **. Being green is also about doing more with less. If you save on resources and improve efficiencies you can actually save your business money. Little changes can make a big difference to the planet and your bottom line.

“Our customers won’t pay a premium for green”

The good news is that there are plenty of studies that show consumers are absolutely willing to pay more for ethical and sustainable brands, products and services provided the price differential is not extreme. In determining what something is worth, quality and service need to be factored in. In today’s climate there is now an additional factor which is a product or services sustainable credentials. Here, transparency goes a long way in justifying price. If the customer can directly see the value they are getting for the additional cost and that aligns with their values, then they will pay more for an eco- friendly alternative. This is particularly true for Gen Z and Millennials who are even more committed to paying for products and services that don’t compromise the environment.

When it comes to green media, not all products are that much more expensive than traditional media and are well within the percentage of tolerance that people are willing to pay. ZERO offers cost effective, sustainable alternatives to PVC will still meeting the commercial objectives of quality print results and high performance.

“None of our customers are asking us about it”

It is all about awareness and education. Just because customers are not asking, doesn’t meant they don’t want it given a choice. Customers don’t always know what is available. It is our job to tell them. Businesses that don’t communicate new options and innovations in this area could well lose out to businesses that do. I have seen many advertisements promoting sustainable products and services printed onto PVC where alternative media could have easily been used. It makes sense that as brands and retailers respond to their customer’s demand for eco products and promote the eco credentials of their products or services, that they will want to do so in a way that is also sustainable. Printers who introduce sustainable products that align with their customers values will win business.

Sustainability is not going to be a short-lived trend. It will continue to grow and become an integral part of doing business. Customers want to do business with companies who share their values. Going green is a key strategy for growth and profitability as well as remaining relevant and competitive. The question now is not whether you can afford to go green but what the cost will be if you don’t.

. * Forbes: The 8 Biggest Business Trends in 2022 ** The World Council for Economic Development
Published in Image Magazine Feb/March