[from article ‘Turning green’ By Deborah Hill Cone -- The New Zealand Herald ;5:30 PM Friday Sep 2, 2011] – Green business strategies have gone mainstream, so companies should stop bragging about environmental efforts. Marketers risk turning off customers with self-complimentary CSR talk. "[M]arketing yourself as green, organic or 'authentic' is not edgy or brave or courageous these days," Cone warns. The New Zealand Herald .
Now that almost everyone is embracing sustainability, businesses need something else to stand out from the crowd. If everyone does, then companies will lose their unique selling proposition. That might be happening already. In 2009, the Harvard Business Review published an article saying that sustainability was the key driver of innovation and there was no alternative to sustainable development. In 2010, the United Nations Global Compact conducted a survey on sustainability and found that 93 per cent of businesses consider it important to their future success. In 2011 a new study by MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group found that despite the economic downturn and tenuous recovery, more than two-thirds of businesses were strengthening their commitment to sustainability. The research found that 69 per cent of companies surveyed plan to step up their investment in and management of sustainability this year. So if more than two-thirds of companies are already doing it, there is parity and where's the benefit in marketing yourself as green? Companies might find customers respect them more if they just deal with the environment and moral issues matter-of-factly because it is part of their business rather than making it into a fashion statement.
Is there still benefit for the textile/apparel and retail businesses in marketing themselves as green?