Green Marketing For Your Small Business

Green Marketing

Linda Doherty, Partner of Citizen Studio and Sustainability Chair of the Atlanta chapter of American Institute of Graphic Arts, shares sustainable marketing strategies.

PINK: How can you market your business if I’m afraid to use paper?

L.D.: Many companies offer a range of smart options – from virgin fiber that’s sourced from responsibly managed forests to 100% post-consumer fiber. And some of these companies are using or supporting renewable energy from wind to hydroelectricity.

PINK: Is digital media a safe and sustainable marketing strategy?
L.D.: Digital media pose huge – and under-reported – environmental hazards. In fact, according to a Gartner study, in 2007, for the first time in history, the carbon emissions due to information and communication technologies exceeded that of the entire aviation industry! One way to respond is by using an environmentally responsible Web hosting company and purchasing renewable energy certificates to offset energy use from server to users.

PINK: Do you have to pay a fortune for green marketing materials?

L.D.: Actually, you can often save money by integrating sustainability in your marketing. Simply having a long-term plan for your communications can help you cut costs and determine the most appropriate media for each element of your communications. Combining print jobs or printing extra business card shells and templates that can be completed in-house make the most of a printing budget. Plus, more sustainable materials and processes are becoming increasingly available and affordable with improved technology and growing demand.

PINK: How do can businesses know sustainability is for them?

L.D.: Sustainability is about a lot more than the environment. It’s about responsibility and the best of the old-fashioned, homegrown values of “waste not, want not.” What we’re talking about is making the choice to use your resources wisely, to be prudent with your business and care for the community. Sustainability covers “the triple bottom line,” which measures a company’s worth in terms of: people, your contribution to the community; planet, the good you do for the environment; and profit, which, of course, is the good you do to keep your business thriving. Sustainability is smart business. So I’m guessing it is for you.

PINK: Is it “politically correct” to leave behind marketing materials these days?

L.D.: You can still leave behind materials! Just make them useful, reusable and certainly recyclable! Consider the materials you use and choose recycled, organic or even biodegradable material sourced from a local provider.Sustainability is a process. The key element is to be honest and authentic about your efforts and values. And keep learning!!

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