20 April 2010
eBay, IBM and Intel shoot the environmental breeze
The worldwide Greendex 2009 report found that 55% of consumers in 17 surveyed countries agreed they were 'very concerned' about the environment - perhaps more importantly, just 14% disagreeing.
So how do brands react to the vast majority of customers, who have at least an eye on environmental issues? This was a question at the heart of a live BrightTALK webcast this week discussing 'A Technology Brand's Green Dilemma'.
Contagious logged in to hear debate chair and Interbrand, New York CEO Andy Bateman frame the conundrum: though tech brands populated the upper echelons of Newsweek's 2009 green index in terms of credentials, this was not translating to product image - was this reticence in anticipation of greater scrutiny?
Round the table were IBM energy and environment VP Rich Lechner, eBay's Green Team director Amy Skoczlas-Cole, and Intel corporate sustainability group VP and general manger William Swope.
The IBM executive kicked
off by asking whether companies were truly getting to know their customers'
expectations in matters green - arguing transparency and communication was key,
from supplier to corporate practice to simple explanations of products'
The IBM executive kicked off by asking whether companies were truly getting to know their customers' expectations in matters green - arguing transparency and communication was key, from supplier to corporate practice to simple explanations of products' eco-credentials.
Swope agreed that plotting a course to connection with consumers was tricky, especially with a bewildering array of systems in place for measuring eco-friendliness, adding that very few buyers would have the time to consider complex environmental impacts at point-of-purchase. Detailing the eBay's unofficial mantra 'the greenest product is the one that already exists', Skoczlas-Cole argued it was companies' 'obligation and responsibility' to educate customers to help them shop savvy.
Concluding with advice on
how green issues could benefit marketing, the trio found a consensus of opinion
over the need for consistency and transparency.
Concluding with advice on how green issues could benefit marketing, the trio found a consensus of opinion over the need for consistency and transparency.
Describing Intel's 'right-hand turn', where the company made the decision to focus on building the most energy-efficient processors, benefiting bottom line in the process, Swope said: 'For us it was about economics. What will make us successful five years from now?'
The last word went to eBay, who founded their Green Team with a bottom-up approach based on employees' beliefs, before the company settled into its reusing and recycling groove. 'Bring it all together for consumers with the right product, and right price and explain how the product is beneficial to the environment. Leverage green on top as your differentiator.'