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CRADLE-TO-CRADLE: A NEW APPROACH FOR MARKETING GREEN PRODUCTS TO THE MASS CONSUMER. Geoffrey Brooks Dana Marohn Kiersten Regelin Daianna Rincones June 3, 2009. AGENDA. Executive Summary Green Mass Marketing – Why Now? Key Questions for Mass-Consumer Marketing
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CRADLE-TO-CRADLE: A NEW APPROACH FOR MARKETING GREEN PRODUCTS TO THE MASS CONSUMER Geoffrey Brooks Dana Marohn Kiersten Regelin Daianna Rincones June 3, 2009
AGENDA • Executive Summary • Green Mass Marketing – Why Now? • Key Questions for Mass-Consumer Marketing • Case Study: Earth-Friendly Products • Findings and Recommendations • Some Questions to Consider
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY • Mass-market green products are increasingly important to companies • Consumer “pull”: the market for green products is growing • Government “push”: greater regulatory/legal pressure to become more green • To penetrate mass market, firms must address key consumer questions: • What is a green product? • What are the benefits of green products? • Can green products be affordable? • Leading firms are in a position to meet this demand • Companies need to clearly articulate green benefits important to their own mass-market consumers • Cradle-to-cradle can be a tool to enable mass marketing of green products
GROWTH IN GREEN CONSUMERISM • Despite the global recession, the green consumer base is growing… Source: BCG, January 2009 • 1/3 of Americans claim they are more likely to buy green products today than they were one year ago • 1/3 of European consumers actively seek out green products (up 2%) • 1/4 of global consumers claim they will pay a higher price (up 4%)
GROWTH IN GREEN CONSUMERISM • …but even mass-market consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable performance Source: Cone, January 2009 • More than 33% of American consumers believe it is more important than ever for companies to be environmentally responsible • 66% of consumers think companies should offer green products • 69% will purchase green products if it is within their budget and 70% will pay attention even if they are not in a position to buy
POLICY IS ALSO DRIVING CHANGE • Green product producers can achieve long-term cost benefits by jumping ahead of policy and can also leverage progressiveness for marketing efforts • Cap-and-trade system • Representative Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) member companies: • California Cradle-to-Cradle Product Bill • Would require California Integrated Waste Management Board to adopt regulations by July 1, 2011 • Some forms of product stewardship legislation exist in the E.U., Japan, South Korea, and Canada Source: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/beyond-green/2009/03/03/california-proposes-cradle-to-cradle-product-bill
A FAMILIAR MARKETING CHALLENGE • There is a thin line between providing relevant, useful information and overloading the consumer with details • Companies are unsure how to communicate • Which green attributes to highlight • How to manage tradeoffs • Exposing weaknesses • Most consumers lack knowledge or interest in the details • Most need clear, simple messaging • Too much detail causes confusion
CRADLE-TO-CRADLE • C2C can be used to guide the design, production, distribution and take-back of green products – it is an ideal to strive toward • Covers the entire life-cycle, and “reincarnation”, of a product • Attempts to create essentially waste-free products • Non-biological inputs be recycled/reused • Biological inputs can be composted/consumed Source: California Product Stewardship Council
A JOURNEY TOWARD CRADLE-TO-CRADLE • Green products should offer incremental environmental benefits using cradle-to-cradle as a guide and ultimate goal One possible journey
WHAT IS A GREEN PRODUCT?GREEN PRODUCT ATTRIBUTES • Lack of clarity limits adoption by mass-market consumers • Many competing and imprecise terms in marketplace • “Organic,” “local,” etc. have no (or many) uniform definition(s) • Many trade-offs exist between definitions – consumers cannot synthesize • Unclear definitions inhibit purchase behavior • Few customers willing or able to research definitions and may walk away • True benefits are unclear, reducing purchases 2009 GMA/Deloitte Green Shopper Study
WHAT IS A GREEN PRODUCT?ATTRIBUTES AND CREDIBILITY • Consumer marketing must provide a definition of green and identify it to consumers prior to purchase • Consumer view of question has two key sub-components • What are attributes of green products – “What does it mean for a product to be sustainable?” • What is credibility of my purchase – “How can I tell a green product when I go to buy it?” Green Product Product Attributes Credibility
WHAT IS A GREEN PRODUCT?ATTRIBUTE FRAMEWORK • A definition of green products must encompass a variety of attribute areas • Cradle-to-Cradle Product Lifecycle • Attribute areas represent a collection of green characteristics • Characteristics are relevant at various phases in the product lifecycle • Difficult for consumers to conceptualize trade-offs between areas • Consumers lack time to understand details and relative costs/benefits • Similar to nutritional labeling on food products Development Manufacture Distribution Purchase / Use End of Life Material Sourcing/Consumption Energy Consumption …Externalities Product… Social Responsibility
WHAT IS A GREEN PRODUCT?CREDIBILITY OF GREEN CLAIMS • Perceived greenwashing can limit adoption by mass-market consumers • Greenwashing makes it difficult to compare similar products • Destroys perceived value of green products • Examples of Greenwashing Hidden trade-offs E.g., locally produced, but more carbon intensive Lack of proof No evidence to support claims Vague claims Ambiguous language or lack of clear definitions Misleading labels Suggestive but unsubstantiated images or messages Adapted from "The Seven Sins of Greenwashing", Terra Choice, May 2009 Irrelevant benefits Emphasizing minor impacts or legally required action False advertising Erroneously claiming benefits or certification
WHAT IS A GREEN PRODUCT?CREDIBILITY OF GREEN CLAIMS • Mistrust of corporations and lack of credible third-party certification causes confusion and limits adoption by mass-market consumers • Consumers have little trust in companies’ green claims • 81 certifications for consumer goods, but • Many global • Many unique to region/company • Often unique only to one “step” in lifecycle
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GREEN PRODUCT?BUYER VALUE AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT • Consumers must obtain value and/or understand the environmental benefit from green product purchase Green Product Benefits Consumer Benefits Buyer Value Environmental Impact • Health concerns • Altruistic motivations • Perception (status related) • Efficacy (i.e., on par with/ better than competitors • Reduced carbon footprint • Carbon created by production/distribution of a product or service • Reduced water footprint • Total water volume used, recycled, or disposed of as waste water to produce a good/service
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GREEN PRODUCT?ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT • Quantifying/labeling environmental impact, such as carbon footprinting, is highly complex • Carbon Footprint Challenges • Costly to quantify (requires both pre- and post-studies) • Multiple methods available • Difficult to use data • Hard for consumers to interpret and compare • Illustrates (again!) the importance of education Carbon Footprint of Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GREEN PRODUCT?ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT (CON’T.) • How do you calculate carbon metrics? And what do they mean? Companies must make metrics relevant, not just identify them • At least two methods exist to measure carbon footprint • Carbon Trust • Found original Tropicana estimate off by > 20% • Greenhouse Gas Management Institute • U.S.-based non-profit providing GHG accounting, auditing and training 1 gal. of Gasoline 1 L of Tropicana 1 Cheeseburger 1 day in studio Apartment 3.75 lbs. CO2 19.4 lbs. CO2 6.3–6.8 lbs. CO2 9 lbs. CO2 Sources: http://www.epa.gov/OMS/climate/420f05001.htm; http://openthefuture.com/cheeseburger_CF.html; http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/calculator/ind_assumptions.html
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GREEN PRODUCT?ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT (CON’T.) • And we thought measuring carbon was challenging - quantifying the impact of water is less established, but feasible • Perception is that water is cheap and unlimited • View distorted due to lack of global pricing mechanism • Case Study – water used in Netherlands coffee consumption • 140 liters H2O/cup = 2.6 billion cubic meters H2O per year • Dutch account for only 2.4% of world coffee consumption 1 KG Wheat 1 KG Maize 1 KG Beef 1 L Rice 1 L Milk 16,000 L H2O 3,000 L H2O 1,000 L H2O 900 L H2O 1,350 L H2O Sources: http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/home; http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/CoffeeTea
CAN GREEN PRODUCTS BE AFFORDABLE?VALUE AND PRICING • To enable mass market adoption, companies must leverage internal and external capabilities to align pricing/value with mass market expectations • Price premiums are acceptable only for some segments • BCG study says 24% of consumers will pay more, but…. • Additional studies reveal most consumers don’t follow through at register • Green-focused CPG companies say 13% is more accurate estimate of “niche” market Consumers 13-24% Consumers 76-87% Perceived Benefits Premium Mass-Market Sources: Cone Consumer Survey, Jan 2009; Capturing Green Advantage, BCG, Jan 2009; Interview, Earth Friendly Products
CASE STUDY: EARTH FRIENDLY PRODUCTS • Earth Friendly Products is successfully mass-marketing green products by educating consumers and pricing in line with competitors • Clearly articulates green benefits and impact • Provides detailed info on packaging, but too much confuses mass consumer • Detailed information available on new website with interactive blog • “Key element is to prove efficacy on a consistent basis” • Leveraged to drive pricing down to mass market • 1 Costco/Sam’s Club SKU provides 50% of revenues • Prices below P&G’s and equal to store brand in wholesale club stores • Vertically integrated and efficiently produced compared to competitors $100M $54M Revenue ($M) $35M
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS • Every product has environmental impact, but goal is to mitigate impact as much as possible • Tradeoffs exist in each stage of the product lifecycle - green needs to be an on-going ideal towards continuous improvement • Companies need to clearly articulate green benefits important to their own mass-market consumers • Must quantify and contextualize environmental benefits • Need to distill varied aspects of green to a concise consumer message • Cradle-to-cradle can be used as a tool to enable mass marketing • Provides framework to consider aspects of sustainable products • Aligning green products with mainstream prices opens doors for mass-market adoption and economies of scale
SUMMARY AND NEXT STEPS • Companies will be forced to mass-market green products eventually • Pulled by consumers • Pushed by governments • Firms can answer key marketing questions now to prepare • What is a green product? • Green is an on-going ideal that encompasses specific attributes and credibility issues • What are the benefits of green products? • Benefits must be quantified and concisely communicated • Can green products be affordable? • Cradle-to-cradle can be a tool to drive down costs and enable mass-market pricing
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER… How green should a product be before it can be marketed as such?
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER… What green aspects should be communicated to consumers?
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER… What would the perfect green label look like?
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER… What is the role of civil society in green product marketing?
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER… How can companies gain more control over their C2C impact?
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER… What are implications of taking green products to the mass market?
KEY QUESTION 1: DETAILED ATTRIBUTE FRAMEWORK • A definition of green products must encompass a variety of attribute areas Material Sourcing/ Consumption • “Minimalist” product design • Avoidance of environmentally-unfriendly materials • Production process efficiency • Packaging efficiency • Reusable or recyclable content • Responsible resource allocation • Low unified carbon footprint (at all life-cycle stages) • Type of energy (clean alternatives vs. traditional sources) Energy Consumption • Recyclability • Product return/usage • Elimination of by-products (chemicals, fertilizers, etc.) • Elimination of harmful externalities (e.g., antibiotics) Product Externalities Social Responsibility • Treatment of employees (including health/safety) • Humane treatment of animals • Interaction with unsavory governments/policies • Community investment and philanthropy
KEY QUESTION 1: DETAILED CREDIBILITY FRAMEWORK • Credibility can be earned and reinforced through education, engagement, and third-party endorsements • Clear, simple messaging • Be transparent about trade-offs • Help consumers change behavior as well as attitude Consumer Education • Involve consumers in stakeholder discussions • Collect consumer feedback, understand their values • Leverage social media for word of mouth advertising Consumer Engagement • Choose product labeling over brochures or web info • Emphasize most significant environmental impacts • Beware overwhelming with too much information Labeling • Effectiveness depends on credibility of the partner • Standardize across industry or impact area • Credibility at the expense of cost and differentiation Certification • Can be transformational for a company • Most credible with the most vocal activist NGOs • Presents risks for both the company and the partner Partnerships
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS DETAIL: #1 • Every product has environmental impact, but goal is to mitigate impact as much as possible • Tradeoffs exist in each stage of the product lifecycle - green needs to be an on-going ideal towards continuous improvement • Companies need to understand tradeoffs internally and articulate them externally to maintain credibility with consumers • Environmental benefits must be significant relative to alternatives
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS DETAIL: #2 • Companies need to clearly articulate green benefits important to their own mass-market consumers • Must quantify and contextualize environmental benefits to help consumers understand reduced product impact • Need to distill varied aspects of green to a concise consumer message (e.g., labeling efforts currently underway, etc.) • Ultimately, consumers must obtain value from purchase whether through environmental benefits or other product attributes
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS DETAIL: #3 • Cradle-to-cradle can be used as a tool to enable mass marketing of green products • Provides framework to consider aspects of sustainable products • Provides levers for organizations to reduce their cost structures in line with mass-market needs • Aligning green products with mainstream prices opens doors for mass-market adoption and economies of scale • Price point is important for mass-market appeal • Green benefits and efficacy will differentiate product and lead to growth through word-of-mouth • Small wins in mass-market can double revenues of niche market and is often more efficient