Ways to Engage Customers in Your Green Efforts

reusable cotton canvas bag, with a message for sustainabalists

Put your message where you sustainable mouth is – on a reusable canvas cotton bag

To save the earth, or at least the word as we know it (from microplastics, greenhouse gases, pollution) all modern-day businesses must make some serious environmental sustainability efforts. These efforts have gone beyond getting employees involved in the business’s green initiatives; it requires being passionate enough about environmental sustainability to carry your customers along. Research shows that businesses that put the planet and ESG first, do better in the long run.

But part of future-positive thinking is helping customers along that path. And this path requires a large effort from inside the business but small things count too. Whether it is as little as selling reusable shopping bags to customers at reduced prices, offering to pack customer orders in custom drawstring bags or reserving the best parking spots to customers who drive environmentally friendly cars. Maybe even offering them EV charging stations for the Tesla. These efforts, if done the right way, always add up to save the environment.

Going green, as we known, is never a quick process; it’s a gradual change that requires constant communication and thought. These are a couple of strategies for engaging your customers in your efforts to go green.

Cut Down on Waste and Inspire Customers to do Same

One of the most effective ways of cutting down waste is recycling. Your business can prompt customers to consider ways to increase the lifespan of products that would have otherwise been considered waste. Research from Greenpeace shows that most plastics aren’t recyclable. So find ways of reducing plastics and packaging from the beginning, and think about Cradle to Cradle. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

Customers could be prompted to recycle if the business makes a point of making reusable items whenever possible. Such items could be reusable cans, clothing, bags, and bottles. Businesses not recycling are missing out on a lot of untold benefits. For one, recycling comes with positive emotions, and you can evoke these emotions in your customers by encouraging them to recycle. Recycling is also inarguably good for the environment and saves both the business and its customers a lot of money in the long run. 

When a business adopts great recycling practices, it puts them in the enviable position of being able to discourage behaviors that are likely to harm the environment. Sometimes all consumers need is a little push to do what’s right. For instance, discouraging customers from using plastic bags goes a long way, as only 5% of America’s plastic gets recycled. When supermarkets in the UK stopped giving out free carrier bags and started selling them, the number of customers who bought plastic carrier bags fell drastically in no time. 

Be Transparent About Your Business Processes

To promote attitudes of sustainability with customers, one must adopt a transparent approach. This involves being open about such important factors as the business’s supply chain. Be open about who supplies the business’s essential product, who does the manufacturing, and how the raw materials are sourced.

When customers are armed with such valuable information as how the products are sourced, it will be a lot easier to convince them to adopt an environmentally friendly approach. See the Connected Butterfly Mark. Of course, it goes without saying that the business at this point should be dealing with suppliers, manufacturers, and associates who adopt environmentally friendly practices. Studies show that customers may even be willing to pay a lot more for products bought from companies that share details about their supply and manufacturing processes.

Use Social Media to Encourage Customer Participation

breathe neon pink sign on green wall

Since businesses have learned how to leverage social media to improve customer communication, doing business has been a lot easier for businesses who do it right. Social media is a great platform to talk about your business’s effort to remain environmentally friendly. You may show the business’s achievements and goals and also ask for customer suggestions.

Many businesses do this on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and through their own websites and blogs. These types of social media efforts are typically more effective when you show rather than just tell. Show customers on your social media platforms the things you’ve done to lessen your environmental footprints. Give them pictures of communities you have impacted.

Ways to show could be anything from showing how your products are locally sourced or providing specifics on recycling and energy efficiency practices adopted by your business. You can show this off on packaging and labels if you have joined green or eco associations like B Corp, Fair Trade or if you are a luxury goods item and have earned the Butterfly Mark. 

Lastly, you can also use these online platforms to encourage customers to go green. This includes encouraging them to ride a bike or walk rather than drive a car the next time they come to the store. Encourage customers who do this by offering a discount or other incentives. These challenges give you an idea of how many customers are influenced by your green practices.

Pay More Attention to Stories, Not Just Data

Rather than just show off data on how much your business has done to help the environment, you should focus on putting a human face to your efforts by collecting stories from customers and employees. Get people whose lives have been negatively impacted by pollution to speak on the topic. Also, get people who have been positively affected by environmentally sustainable practices to talk about its benefits. These stories can be told on recyclable bags, fliers, banners, TV, magazines, and social media. These types of stories make an impact on people, and more importantly, they encourage sustainability.

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