Utility customers won’t take “no” for an answer

by Sep 20, 2018

Shelton Insight

As more and more Americans shop for and purchase green products, one of the qualifiers they rely on in determining if a product is green is whether or not the company behind the product has a strong environmental reputation. When we ask Americans, “What should companies do to protect the environment?” the thing that comes in second place, behind zero waste, is “use renewable energy.” Corporate America and many state governments have caught onto this and they’re going there. Just look at what California governor Jerry Brown signed into law last week, look at the list of companies committed to the RE 100, and check out what our client, Kohler, is doing.

Most utilities have been slow to embrace this reality – and the new research from EEI referenced in our lead article below – and they’re out of options now for trying to convince the public that renewables are expensive or unreliable. It’s time for utilities to lead the charge on renewables and leverage their amazing engineering know-how to move America in this direction.

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Sustainability Win of the Week

The depth to which renewables have won the hearts of Americans is a victory – and now utilities must step up with their own renewable wins. “In our polarized age, here is something we almost all agree on: Renewable energy is awesome.” So says the Vox article that explains and illustrates important findings from new research sponsored by the Edison Electric Institute. In fact, the article says, “a majority of those surveyed (51 percent) believe that 100 percent renewables is a good idea even if it raises their energy bills by 30 percent.”

The EEI research offers valuable, practical advice for utilities, from the kind of messaging that’s sure to make them lose out with their customers (don’t tell customers why 100% renewables doesn’t work!) to how to frame the conversation so customers will keep listening.

Check out this article for the EEI highlights and how all of this connects back to something we’ve been thinking about lately – the role of zero-carbon energy sources in meeting customers’ demands.

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News of the Week

After Hurricane Florence made landfall, these brands quietly helped the relief effort – Adweek

Our hearts go out to the victims of Hurricane Florence, which caused over $22 billion in devastation sweeping through the Carolinas this past week. Here’s how companies are helping those in need. As we’ve talked about before in our blog, how can your brand not only work to mitigate climate change – but also combat the effects of it for vulnerable communities?

How autonomous vehicles will help businesses reduce their carbon footprints – Sustainable Brands

Autonomous vehicles are not only on the horizon – and at the forefront of every automobile maker’s mind – but they are also making leaps toward greater sustainability. Here’s what to know about autonomous vehicles and how they can help companies achieve sustainability goals.

Screw incremental improvements: Mars is changing how it does business – Sustainable Brands

As part of the “Sustainable in a Generation” plan at Mars, the company is totally redefining how it sources its products – working with suppliers of known origin, with known sustainability goals, rather than following a traditional commodity model (where the origin and sustainability of source materials is largely unknown). The new sourcing plan at Mars begins with 10 key ingredients for which the environmental and social impacts are greatest.

Do consumers really care whether brands take a stand?

Yes, they do. But your brand can’t choose just any stand and expect them to love you for it. Learn how social purpose can create connection with consumers.

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About the Author

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.