Do customers care about being green?
25 February 2014
For most, environmental ethics play a major part in everyday life. From recycling bottles and paper to minimising energy usage, being green is working to improve the relationship between human technology and the direct impact it has on our surroundings. So is our industry doing enough to encourage customers to give greater priority to environmental considerations?, asks Clémence Flamée from Connect Hygiene products
Although we are ever conscious of recycling waste in our own homes, how important is it to have an environmental conscience outside the house? What about when using paper hand towels in public washrooms, or where our toilet paper has been sourced in a hotel bathroom?
Washroom hygiene supplier Connect Hygiene was recently awarded the Ecolabel accreditation, a certification used to distinguish greener, environmentally friendly products. To achieve certification, a robust independent process must be completed and the approved products must meet strict environmental criteria at every stage of its lifecycle. But, how many busy washroom users, stopping off at a motorway service station toilet, are really thinking of the impact of using non-recyclable toilet paper or too many paper hand towels?
As individuals, we often assume our paper footprint is insignificant so, essentially the environmental responsibility lies with the manufacturing companies such as Connect Hygiene and those who are responsible for purchasing the washroom supplies. Paper is one of few sustainable and naturally renewable materials. Sourcing paper from FSC certified forests is in the paper-making industry’s best interest as it ensures that paper materials remain available.
Europe’s forests are actually increasing in size and yet over 70% of the fibres used to make paper in the UK come from paper that is collected for recycling. So, simply putting your waste paper into an office recycle bin at work is more important than many think. As a business, actions can be taken to ensure that you are operating as a green, ethical company. But, how much do customers take this into consideration when they are also faced with other important factors such as price?
The 'green premium'
A recent survey proved that nearly 50% of purchasers said they would be more likely to buy a product if it was environmentally friendly, which perhaps means that the constant encouragement to buy green is paying off. However, 59% said they weren’t willing to pay a higher price for green products, the so called 'green premium' proving that the deciding factor when sourcing paper isn’t always the sustainable forests it has been produced from or the reduced carbon emissions when making it, but the final price of the product.
As with any product, customer priorities vary depending on the individual. Whilst one customer may consider sustainability to be a key aspect, another will only think of the benefits of saving money on cheaper, less environmentally-friendly products. Differentiating or segmenting customers means that businesses are able to offer the correct product mix for their target demographic, so maximising the sales opportunity.
With green being a key trend in the marketplace, perhaps companies feel that they are making the effort to push sustainable products when it doesn’t really have any effect on the buyer. Yet offering environmentally friendly products at a competitive price and making sustainable buying accessible to every customer can only conclude with positive results for all of us.