Corporate sustainability efforts make a difference to consumers

Corporate sustainability efforts make a difference to consumers

They show your company values – and consumers notice.

Your corporate sustainability efforts are a reason for consumers to buy your products.recycle_bin_blue

We’ve borne it out repeatedly in our research, and we’ve just seen proof of it again in our Eco Pulse™ studies.

The question is: What efforts most resonate with consumers?

In other words, what can you do at a corporate level that will give folks a reason to buy at the product level?

We’ve mentioned this before, but first and foremost, you can make your products in the U.S. and you can recycle.

Made in the U.S.A. = a safer product in a consumer’s mind and recycling = green.

64 percent of the American population claims they always recycle (we know that’s not true, but that’s their perception), and they hold companies to the same standards – as in, “I think I’m doing the right thing when I recycle; therefore, when companies recycle, they’re doing the right thing, too.”

From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, keeping your efforts local is a big win, and so is, essentially, doing most of the work for consumers.

Buy-one-give-one programs test well and that’s not really surprising – they’re Brownie Points programs that consumers don’t have to earn.

They just buy a product they were going to buy anyway and, poof, someone in need gets the same product. Everybody wins, and the consumer expended little effort.

Two Degrees barsFollowing that logic, the makers of Two Degrees bars should do quite well.

These were on offer at last year’s Sustainable Brands conference, and I was struck by their buy-one-give-one approach, as well as the amount of real estate the company gave to the claim on their packaging.

We hear frequently from major brands that they can’t make their sustainability claims bigger or more explanatory on their packages – they say there’s not enough room, there are too many other things to say, etc.

If these guys can devote nearly half of the packaging of a snack bar to it, I think anybody can do it.

So that’s the takeaway: Do your sustainability activities for your customers. And make it really visible on your packaging.

Consumers will reward you for it.


Posted on

April 30, 2013

About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.


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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Courtnay Hamachek

VP Operations

Courtnay oversees our day-to-day operations to keep us running smoothly and support our growth. She establishes project management systems and processes to help our teams anticipate bottlenecks, prevent process issues, and keep projects on time and on target. Courtnay has built extensive experience over 25 years in all aspects of marketing, from account services and project management to design and production.

Aaron Crecy

Digital Marketing Director

Aaron is responsible for planning, executing and measuring digital marketing strategies for Shelton Group and our clients, with an emphasis on inbound, content, SEO, social media, email and paid initiatives. He constantly researches and explores new tactics and strategies to improve digital campaign performance and results.

Aaron brings to the table more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience with premium consumer-facing brands. He came to Shelton Group by way of Malibu Boats, where, as Director of Global Marketing, he oversaw strategic marketing planning and execution for multiple product lines, with specific emphasis on social media and digital. Prior to that, he served as CMO for a leading daily fantasy sports operator, guiding it from startup to the industry’s third-ranked site.

Scot Case

Senior Consultant

A sustainability strategy consultant since 1993, Scot has served as non-profit leader, as a partner in an environmental marketing firm that he grew and sold, and as an executive in a multi-billion-dollar, international company. He has published dozens of articles and case studies, was co-author of the original “Sins of Greenwashing” study, testified before Congress, and been quoted on NPR, Good Morning America, CNN, The New York Times, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal. Scot was also highlighted in an Emmy award-winning documentary on sustainable purchasing.

Casey Ward

VP Account Services

Casey manages our relationships, growth and development with a specific group of clients that includes Environmental Defense Fund, Cotton LEADS and CertainTeed Insulation. She provides leadership and support for the account team members who manage the day-to-day processes for these clients. She contributes to strategic direction for each client and guides our creative efforts to ensure everything we do builds toward meeting – or exceeding – the client’s goals. Her ability to simultaneously see the big picture and pay close attention to the details helps her champion her clients’ needs and identify new growth opportunities for them.