Businesses’ Green Credentials: Shoppers Sceptical

Small businesses taking steps to help the environment may not be generating much positive PR from it, research from the Carbon Trust has found.

The Carbon Trust survey of 1,000 consumers found that 53 per cent believe that businesses only implement green and sustainable policies to gain publicity. In addition, 56 per cent are more loyal to firms that can provide evidence of their green credentials.

“It’s clear that ‘green washing’, over-claiming and excessive jargon have created mistrust of brands.”

said Carbon Trust Standard general manager, Harry Morrison.

“The good news is that by taking voluntary action now to measure, manage and reduce their impacts, there are huge opportunities for brands to stand out from the crowd.”

Managing director of small business Kell Systems, David O’Coimin, said small sustainable businesses should ensure they stand out from the green wash, saying:

“They need to prove their claims and you can do that with case studies, by showing what you’ve done in the past in simple clear language.”

O’Coimin advised small green busiensses dealing with customer scepticism to be open in their dealings, adding:

“Don’t use social media to tell the market what you think the market wants to hear; believe in the things you’re saying and tell them what’s actually going on in your organisation.”

O’Coimin added that while economic conditions remain difficult, small firms looking to increase their green credentials could benefit from financial savings as well as good publicity.

“Sustainability has to be part of the message too. We’re trying to get every economy out of the resources, from getting the most out of our employees to getting the most out of every watt of electricity. Sustainability isn’t just about the planet, it has to be economically sustainable too.”

The Carbon Trust report also highlighted that 56 per cent of people are more concerned about businesses’ actions to reduce their impact on climate change than they were five years ago.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) spokeswoman, Sara Lee, said that small businesses want to be more environmentally friendly, but felt there needed to be more incentives for them to be able to do so.

“More than half of our members felt that being more energy efficient could help them with cost savings. Almost 60 per cent have changed the way that their business operates because of concerns relating to climate change — whether it’s recycling their waste or reducing the amount of energy they use, it’s something that small businesses are keen to embrace.”

Businesses’ Green Credentials: Shoppers Sceptical

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