Green Branding for Major Corporations
Real World Examples for Improving CSR Communications
Just for fun, here are some messaging examples from the real world:
From Archer Daniels Midland: "With resourcefulness and passion, we are focused on efficiently using water resources and minimizing the impact of our operations on the air. The Office of Compliance & Ethics, which includes a group of environmental experts, assures the Company's actions are aligned with this commitment."
What about just saying? "When we started our company in 1902, it seemed like human beings were incapable of making any lasting impact on the planet. Now, we know differently, so we're making decisions differently. We've made big steps in reducing our water use and pollution -- and we're working on reducing both even more. In fact, we've assembled a group of environmentalists to monitor us to make sure we're staying true to our commitments."
From Dow: "Dow is committed to elevate our understanding of our impact on global ecosystems and work toward the most efficient and effective use of the planet's precious resources."
In more human terms, this might read: "Every year, we learn more and more about the ways that industrial activities affect ecosystems. We're committed to understanding the ways our own operations impact the planet so we can be more efficient in using the planet's resources."
From HP: "HP is setting an example by continually to strive towards new environmental goals and driving significant environment advances in areas like product development, internal operations and supply chain management." (BTW, The two grammatical errors in this text were taken verbatim from HP's web site -- it this were text in a computer ad, we bet it would have been vetted more carefully)."
Here's a translation in less business-speak. "For us, innovation and environmental intelligence are completely intertwined. We're committed not just to be responsible, but to lead in all the different aspects of our business, from the products we design to how we operate, including the supplies we buy from other companies."
From Fuji: "Fujifilm has a strong commitment to building sustainable businesses that have a minimal environmental impact. Fujifilm supports efforts to preserve green space and educate and inform employees and the public on the importance of conservation and preservation."
Perhaps, "We're committed to building businesses with as little impact on the planet as possible. Since our own business involves reproducing images of the world, we're passionate about initiatives to preserve green space, including educating the public and our own employees about the importance of protecting the world's remaining natural lands."
Undoubtedly a post like this will get criticism from folks who don't think big companies' efforts are genuine. I share this skepticism, yet I've learned that there are unsung heroes within these corporations who are earnestly and passionately engaged in changing their respective cultures. And I can say that in my experience, once people are given responsibility in this area, their work quickly becomes very personal and passionate. Give someone an opportunity to make the world better in their day job and they inevitably take it to heart. It's the way we're built.
Jerry Stifelman is founder and creative director of The Change, a brand-strategy and design agency that works exclusively with companies and organizations that make the world more sustainable, equitable or authentic.
More From Jerry Stifelman on Green Branding and Marketing
Green Branding: Free Your Inner Activist, Business Will Follow
Green Branding: Why Originality Matters
Branding for Non-profits: Why It's Important
Rebirth of the Producer
Greenhushing Doesn't Help Anyone: Why Green Business Should Speak Up
Reality vs. Perception: On Being Born With a Green Spoon in Your Mouth
The Virtue of Humility: Why Coke's Ethical Store Failed
Green Branding and Marketing: Who's Out in Front?
Be More Than Green
Authenticity: Get it Free With Your Commitment to Preserve the Earth
Just Because It Saves the World, That Doesn't Make it Popular
The Planet Wants You to Market Really Well