Green Companies Quiet on Eco Credentials

by | Feb 13, 2012

Bourbon distillery Maker’s Mark, tile maker Fireclay Tile and design materials manufacturer Kirei are three examples of green companies that do not boast about their eco credentials, according to an article on CNN Money.

Maker’s Mark’s headquarters (pictured) is in a nature reserve, it recycles its bourbon byproducts to power its plant and an on-site wastewater treatment plant pumps fresh water back into local creeks. But few consumers other than those that visit the Loretto, Ky., distillery hear about the company’s green-mindedness, the web site reports.

This quiet approach is “part of the DNA of Maker’s Mark,” says chief operating officer Bill Samuels Sr.

A similar approach is taken by Fireclay and Kirei. John Stein, Kirei’s founder, says that naming your company or product “eco” or “green” is fine if you are targeting environmentally conscious consumers, but it could be a “turn-off” to the wider mainstream market.

Older consumers’ views of green products are often tainted by associations with inferior quality, harking back to early incarnations of, for example, the hybrid car, says Sanjay Dhar a marketing professor at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. This is less true when is comes to the younger market, who have a “clean slate” in their mind about green products, he says, the web site reports.

A recent study by Ryan Partnership Chicago and Mambo Sprouts Marketing found that sales of sustainable apparel are suffering largely due to the lack of supply in shops rather than any association of green clothing with being unfashionable.

Some 69 percent of consumers considered sustainability at least sometimes when purchasing clothing in 2011 and shoppers intend to double their eco-apparel purchases this year, according to the 2012 Styling Sustainability survey.

While practicing sustainably is usually a good course of action for a company, it might not always be appropriate to shout about it from the green rooftops.

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