Green Business: A Marketing Gimmick?

Green jobs
Green jobs
Getting the words out that your business is “green” is proven to be a smart business move – Is it only a marketing ploy or a real environmental-changing business campaign?

Go green issues has been hot in small business and entrepreneurship, especially in the last couple of years. In every business sector, there is highly probable a niche that is green-related: green real estates, green cars, green web hosting providers, green printing, green jobs, green business cards, green offices, etc.

To learn more, as usual, I use Google Insights to get a bigger picture on a topic from the Internet.

Just type in “green business” in Google Insights’ search box and you’ll see what I mean:

Green business trend
Green business trend

Going green drives plenty of interests. According to Google Insights, the top interest on “green business” is the United States, followed by the United Kingdom. It’s probably safe to assume that the US and the UK are two of the countries whose people are having a strong awareness on environmentally-friendly practices in business.

Given the prospects and trends, a question arises: Is going green in business only a marketing gimmick?

The answer is cliche: yes and no.

To some, green business is just a marketing gimmick

With the green energy certificates and renewable energy credits available for businesses to instantly green their business operations, I’m not sure buying those will instantly make the business green. Carbon neutral – yes; green – no.

RECs (renewable energy credits) can aid a business to go green by nullifying its carbon emission, but they will not make a business more effective and energy efficient in its business operations.

In my opinion, going green in business is more about business practices than simply neturalising the carbon emission released in any business activities.

Going paperless, use daylight lighting system, optimising the use of air conditioners and using energy-efficient light bulbs are some of the activities that make a business greener, despite not necessarily carbon neutral.

So, yes – To some business claiming that their business is green but is not practicing green business operations, despite the plausible business action, going green is probably more a hyped marketing move rather than an environmentally-changing move.

To some others, green business is real life-changing business

To some other, going green takes the business beyond their operational comfort zone.

Some examples: A green business plants a tree for every joining customer; A business allows (even insists) the employees to telecommute to reduce carbon emissions created by traveling to and from the office; Another business even build its own wind turbines to power its business operation with 100% renewable energy.

Some green business mix-and-match green business practices with the purchase of RECs (and other green certificates), virtually making them green and carbon neutral.

Nevertheless, every green-related activity counts

A marketing gimmick or not, green businesses are, indeed, the front-runners in creating a more environmentally-conscious society, worldwide.

Their decision in going green is highly appreciated. And as long as what they do in their going green efforts is positive, enjoying residual financial and branding benefits from the “go green” business campaign is entirely fine with me.

How about you? Please let us know your opinion by commenting on this article.

Ivan Widjaya
Green business rocks
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