Saving our planet; one bag at a time

February 28, 2007

Green Marketing - you can’t afford not to read this book

Filed under: Branding, Environment — Kaajal @ 3:53 pm

Green Marketing Book
New York based J. Ottman Consulting has published a book called Green Marketing. You could buy it at Amazon.com, but they’ve also placed it online for you to read free of cost.

It’s an absolutely brilliant book and I can’t praise it enough. The cost of not reading this book could be very high.

Here’s a quote you ought to take very seriously: “Communications that appear insignificant or insincere often invite criticism from any number of stakeholders; environmentalists sniff out whom they perceive to be “greenwashers,” and state attorneys general are on the prowl for marketers who make deceptive environmental marketing claims.

While such challenges exist, not communicating one’s environmentally-oriented product initiatives presents its own risks. These include being replaced on the shelf by a competitor with recognized green credentials, and lost opportunities to increase market share among the growing number of green consumers. Moreover, marketers who don’t tout their product’s greenness may find that consumers may assume their products are not environmentally sound”.

Giving away our reusable fabric bags is a very clean answer. It is an unambiguous non-verbal statement of your environmental sensitivity. You’re not making any empty claims, instead you are demonstrating your sensitivity through action.

The economics are also unbeatable. A visit to our website will offer a pleasing surprise when you see how affordable they are, and the number of times they get reused will give you very substantial and high-quality exposure. That’s why they are known as walking billboards!

February 27, 2007

Citizens push for reusable bags to be rid of the plastic bag menace

Filed under: Environment — Kaajal @ 5:58 pm

The Bag Lady Choir from Norwich

A group of “bag ladies” were hoping to hit the right note with shoppers in Norwich today by encouraging them to give plastic carrier bags the boot.

The Bag Lady Choir have been serenading shoppers in the city centre as well as coaxing, cajoling, and if that failed, pestering them into giving up their plastic carrier bags for more sustainable alternatives.

Plastic bags are a huge problem, according to the Norwich-based climate action group called Wake Up Women – Some plastic bags facts they’ve listed:

Plastic bags can take between 500 and 1,000 years to decompose.

17.5 billion plastic bags are given away by UK supermarkets every year, the equivalent of 290 plastic bags per person.

It would take just 21 years to cover the whole of England with the plastic bags at the current rate supermarkets are giving them out.

A Minke Whale washed up on the Normandy Coast in 2002 had 800kg of plastic bags in its stomach.

When one ton of plastic bags are reused or recycled the equivalent energy of 11 barrels of oil is saved.

Ireland’s tax on plastic bags has resulted in a steep increase in shoppers choosing reusable bags from 36pc to 90pc in recent years.

February 23, 2007

Use a cause to build a brand. Lauren Bush Goes Green

Filed under: Branding, Environment — Kaajal @ 4:33 pm

Lauren Bush backs the Feed Bag cause

Want credibility and respect for your brand? You could learn a thing or two from George W’s niece Lauren Bush.

Though that already gives her celebrity status it is clearly not enough. This savvy young lady is playing the game by the book to build visibility and recognition for her soon to be launched line of clothing and accessories by promoting a cause that no one can disagree with.

She turned up at the Michael Kors show during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York carrying a burlap shoulder bag that read “Feed the Children of the World” on the side. “Each bag will feed a child in school for a year through the United Nations World Food Program,” said Bush, an ambassador of the cause, of the double-handled “Feed Bag” tote, which will go on sale at Amazon.com April 1.

This is an intelligent and admirable way to take the high road while differentiating your brand from your competition. Reusable cloth bags are in themselves a cause that no one can argue with. Add the impact of this! 

I don’t yet know what they are going to be priced at (how much does it take to feed a child for a year?), but a bag with a cause like this can probably sell at a clearly justified high price, as much as a well known and respected brand like Louis Vuitton could fetch for a similar product. Such is the potential of a cause related strategy. 

The product itself has much to say for itself. One such bag will serve the owner instead of close to 500 plastic bags and do enormous good right there. If you’d like to use such a reusable fanric bag to take your own agenda forward, come to our website and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable these elegant bags can be.

February 22, 2007

Biggest ad agencies predict wave of green marketing campaigns in 2007

Filed under: Branding, Environment — Kaajal @ 1:12 pm

Green Brands will do best in 2007

See this article in the Financial Times, London. The heads of AMV BBDO, JWT, Ogilvy, RKCR/Y&R and Saatchi & Saatchi have told the FT they believe green advertising will grow in the next 12 months.

But they sound a cautionary note. They warn companies against “rushing in” and exaggerating their environmental commitments, if they cannot substantiate them.

That’s why giving away reusable fabric bags is such a great idea. The medium itself substantiates your claim. Reinforces my belief that reusable fabric bags, particularly cotton or jute shopping bags, constitute one of the most cost effective advertising and promotional media in the world today. Just look at our line up of bags on our website and check out the prices.

If you’d prefer to read it here, I’ve reproduced the entire text of the article. Read on.

Wave of eco-marketing predicted
By Carlos Grande,Marketing Correspondent
Published:
February 12 2007 02:00

The biggest advertising agencies are predicting a wave of green marketing campaigns as businesses compete on their environmental claims - some even arguing that it could become a matter of their very survival.

Agencies say communicating green values is fast becoming an act of “corporate hygiene” needed to retain competitiveness and standing with customers.

The heads of AMV BBDO, JWT, Ogilvy, RKCR/Y&R and Saatchi & Saatchi have told the FT they believe green advertising will grow in the next 12 months. All were in the top six UK agencies by gross income in the most recent industry report by Willott Kingston Smith, the leading advertising auditing firm.

The agencies say environmental branding has risen up boards’ agendas, and point to the spate of recent rival green announcements in the grocery retail sector.

Farah Ramzan Golant, chief executive of AMV, said: “We’re at a tipping point. I really believe we are going to see more of this.”

Advertisers that make green claims for products and services however face unprecedented public scrutiny, particularly from bloggers and other web users.

Some experts warn those that unveil unpersuasive or me-too initiatives on carbon neutrality or sustainable sourcing, for instance, will see little benefit.

At best they would not receive the free press coverage some announcements had enjoyed but would have to use paid-for marketing to persuade sceptics. At worse they could suffer a backlash if their claims proved wrong or inconsistent.

Lee Daley, chairman and chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi UK, said: “Brands will not be able to opt out of this. Companies which do not live by a green protocol will be financially damaged because consumers will punish them. In the longer term, I do not think they will survive.”

There is still some scepticism at the commercial benefits of making environmental commitments. But they have long been seen as a display of corporate social responsibility. More recently it has been argued that they can influence brand preferences of some consumers.

Alison Burns, chief executive of JWT London, said: “Once a company makes an environmental statement, its direct competitor is now conspicuous by its absence if it hasn’t too. Consumers are suspicious of that silence. This isn’t restricted to a particular industry. It is in-creasingly pervasive. There is an underlying expectation that we are asking more questions about companies’ intentions. That is partly a phenomenon of the digital age where consumers are used to interviewing brands like they might be interviewing people for a job.”

Agencies warn companies against “rushing in” and exaggerating their environmental commitments, if they cannot substantiate them.

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints about green campaigns from Scottish & Southern Energy, Npower and Volkswagen. Although such complaints are rare, the ASA expects them to increase.

James Murphy, chief executive of RKCR/Y&R, the advertising agency for Marks and Spencer, adds: “There is no shortage of interest groups scrutinising brands and businesses. This whole area is a bit of a vigilante market. I think in time a strong environmental brand will become a hygiene factor of doing business. It will also allow you to increase customer loyalty and charge a premium.”

Businesses urged to beware activist blog views

Businesses keen to market themselves as green have been warned not to mistake the activist views of eco-bloggers for those of mainstream internet users.

Initiative Media, the media buying group, tracked environmental discussions among 18,000 users on specialist English language blogs and websites as well as mainstream online forums.

It advises advertisers to be selective about the causes they endorse and to ensure any new green products serve a consumer need rather than appeal to the altruism of a minority.

In its research, Initiative classified 47 per cent of the online messages it surveyed as ambivalent towards “the state and future of the environment”, and 39 per cent as optimistic. This is in contrast to the often cautionary, urgent tone of green campaigners.

Consumers’ moods also varied by subject. They were more likely to be positive on alternative energy and vehicle emissions than global warming. Many were confused or apathetic because of apparently conflicting arguments.

Initiative said the study, conducted between April and June 2006, was skewed towards US sites and the findings might reflect this.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

February 21, 2007

Effective Green Marketing needs engagement not evangelism

Filed under: Environment — Kaajal @ 4:42 pm

Green Marketing

green-engage.co.uk is an aptly named website that’s published a white paper called Painting the Town Green, in which they discuss ways for green marketers to become more effective in their efforts. Its priced at £20 but they also offer a free PDF download.

Very definitely worth a read.

February 14, 2007

Businesses under pressure to think green

Filed under: Branding, Environment — Kaajal @ 4:03 pm

Consumers are concerned about how much packaging they have to deal with

In this article at FreshPlaza.com, Sir Menzies Cambell, talks about how British businesses are going to have to accept responsibility for cutting down on the amount of plastic waste they create. Their customers are demanding it, which has to the most compelling reason to pay attention to this huge problem our planet is facing.

In other articles on this blog you will find even more reasons for your company to not only accept a more environmentally sensitive but also to show that you are doing so. Giving away reusable bags is one of the most cost-effective ways to achieve this while enhancing the value and credibility of your brand.

They are more affordable than most people think. Browse around our website to discover how affordable they can be.

February 12, 2007

F*@k Plastic and change the world to a better place

Filed under: Environment — Kaajal @ 1:58 pm

F*@k Plastic

A resident of Goshen Village in New York state has written a very thoughtful piece in the Chronicle.

Its so well written that I am reproducing it verbatim. Here goes:

Now that 2007 has arrived, there is one resolution you can make and stick to that will make a difference in the world. Though it may not seem possible (as some of these problems are daunting), there are some things we can do, a resolution you can make, that will make a difference. It is easy, cheap, and effective. And as each new person takes this on, the change we make will quickly add up.

First, here’s the problem:

In the U.S., an estimated 12,000,000 barrels of oil are required to produce the over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps the EPA estimates are consumed in the U.S. each year.

Retailers spend an estimated $4 billion on their plastic store bags, passing the cost on to consumers (approx. $10-15 per year per family).

In a landfill, plastic bags take hundreds of years to degrade into tiny bits. Since they are not biodegradable, they contaminate our soil and water. When they breakdown in our water systems, these small plastic particles also pose threats to marine life and contaminate our food supply.

A 2001 paper by Japanese researchers reported that plastic debris acts like a sponge for toxic chemicals, soaking up a million fold greater concentration of such deadly compounds as PCBs and DDE (a breakdown product of the notorious insecticide DDT).

About 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals are killed by plastic bags each year worldwide, according to Planet Ark, an international environmental group.

Though plastic bags (such as those you take your groceries home in, those made from high density polyethylene) can be recycled, the majority of them are not. There is no adequate collection system in place (most stores do not provide collection bins and most municipalities do not accommodate them in their recycling programs). They either end up lining our highways, trees, or beaches, or they get included in our regular garbage.

An estimated 8 billion pounds of plastic bags, wraps and sacks enter the waste stream every year in the US alone, putting an unnecessary burden on our diminishing landfill space and causing air pollution if incinerated.

Plastic bag litter has become such an environmental problem that Ireland, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia, and Bangladesh have heavily taxed them or banned their use outright. Several other regions, including England and some U.S. cities, are considering similar actions.

Unquestionably, this is a real problem, one that has far reaching effects. There is, however, a simple solution: use reusable bags, whether cloth or nylon. It is easy, cheap, effective, and a resolution that is easy to keep; it’s simply a change of habit.

Most households use 10 or more plastic bags each week to pack their groceries in. Over a year, that’s over 500 plastic bags! If just 2,000 people use reusable bags the reduction in plastic bags will be over one million per year; so even a small number of people can make a big difference. As Margaret Mead so aptly said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

So do it! You can, you should, you owe it to your children, and you owe it to the world you’re part of.

Keith Roddey
Village of Goshen

February 10, 2007

Japan tries to cut plastic bag usage

Filed under: Environment — Kaajal @ 5:19 pm

Japan consumes more plastic film per capita than most countries

Japan consumes more plastic film per capita than most countries, according to MSNBC. Wrapping habits in Japan border on the excessive, which may stem from Japan’s traditional attitudes toward gift giving, more geared to presentation more than content. The layering of wrapping also has important social meaning — more wrapping means more politeness and formality.

“We consider wrapping a part of the product,” said Shinji Shimamura, a spokesman for the Japan Franchise Association, which represents over 125 franchise chains in Japan.

February 8, 2007

A challenge to all designers

Filed under: Environment — Kaajal @ 5:52 pm

A challenge to all designers

If you’re a designer, read this.

Sarah Mower, fashion writer for Vogue and Style.com writes an article in the Telegraph which rakes fashionable women over the coals for accepting plastic bags which she calls those vile, flimsy, ugly, desperately polluting carriers.

I love it. She’s talking my language. She doesn’t stop there, adding that it’s an inexcusable habit encouraged by supermarket “convenience” culture, when we collude in it through slack-brained laziness.

This lady sure doesn’t pull her punches.

She asks why designers aren’t designing great looking reusable shopping bags. Is it, she asks, because fashion in general is so disconnected from the way we live now, so oblivious to the notion of usefulness (let alone ecological issues) that stooping to such an idea is out of the question?

Is it? This is a question for designers to answer.

There’s a world full of bright designers out there. I’m hoping some of you will rise to the challenge and write to me so we can work together to actually make such bags happen. rajiv at badlani.com. I’ll be waiting to hear from you!

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