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Why Smart Businesses Go Green

“Consumers are stupid.”

He said it with a certain finality: the casual air as if discussing the existence of gravity or the shape of the earth, but I was still floored. I had just finished presenting to a series of senior managers at one of the largest marketing companies in the world a plan to encourage sustainable initiatives in individuals and help average people better understand the 17 Sustainable Development goals in tandem with the United Nations.

“If it isn’t fast, easy, and mindless, they won’t go for it. Nobody cares about sustainability enough to change, and businesses won’t see it as an opportunity to make money because it doesn’t influence purchase…You know what I mean?”

Imagine his surprise when I responded:

“Actually, I make all of my purchasing decisions based on the ethical practices of the company and product. I’m zero waste.

Contrary to Kermit, it’s actually (dare I say it?) –awesome- being green. The problem is not that these solutions don’t exist, rather, convincing business owners why they should make the effort.

Keep reading to see how sustainable initiatives can cut costs, increase revenue, and strengthen your brand.

Sustainability: Build a Better Brand

Business is nothing without brand. It is your identity, your curated culture, and one of the most influential parts of drawing and retaining customers. The most successful businesses have a strong, well-defined brand that creates and retains an active customer base, increasing engagement and exposure while encouraging positive reviews and success by finding the right customer for your product.


Of American Purchasing Decisions are Influenced by a Brand's Values & Authenticity


Purchase from Company's Who Share their Beliefs


Expected Companies to Stand Up for Social, Cultural, and Environmental issues.

SOURCE: https://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2017-csr-study

It’s clear consumers, in particular younger generations such as millennials and Generation Z, don’t just care about what you sell, but the values you hold. Millennials especially have been shown to regard purchasing and brand support as an emotional decision and spend more money with brands that support the buyers journey.


% of millennials make purchases based on brands that express their personality and make them feel good. Millennials in general seek products that meet both a logistical and emotional need.

Strengthen Your Influence

Adopting Sustainable initiatives adds to the story your brand tells, which in turn strengthens its influence. Brands that feel humanized and engage in cultural relevance leave a stronger impression and enjoy more sales. Sustainability shows a brand actively engaged and aware of what’s on consumers’ minds, working hard to address the real concerns of their audience.


of people consider a company’s environment impact before buying.


More than half of the GLOBAL population reported extreme concern over environment problems, sometimes as high as 90% of the population of a given country


Around the world, 69-94% of the population claimed it is a corporation’s responsibility to care for the environment.

Source: The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey, conducted in collaboration with Nielsen Q2 2017

Build Trust and Transparency

Sustainability creates brand transparency and trustworthiness. It instills in consumers that the same awareness and concern you have about the planet will carry through to their personal experience with your brand.


70% of Millennials directly look at company values during the buyer’s journey, vs 40% of Baby Boomers.*


of buyers overall will be more likely to trust a company that supports social or environmental issues.**


will refuse to patron a company if they discover it supports issues contrary to their beliefs.**

*SOURCE: Forbes.com – Consumer Technographics® data

**SOURCE: Cone Communications CSR – https://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2017-csr-study

Conserve Costs and Lower Overhead

Think about it: Sustainable practices tend to be focused on conservation, which translates to money-saving opportunities, both internally and externally. Despite the initial investment, conserving electricity and upcycling waste reduces overhead long-term. In some cases, dramatically enough to change an industry!

Don’t believe me? Take Laundry detergent. For years, laundry detergent was sold in massive, heavy plastic tubs. In the search for a sustainable option, companies realized that the liquid form of the detergent would eat away at bioplastics, and glass or other products able to hold so much weight were too unstable to ship. They came up with an idea: Why not remove the water? After all, you have water in your washing machine, right? This would not only reduce the weight of the product but remove the unstable element that made economical and eco-friendly packaging options unreachable.

Now, instead of shipping giant, heavy containers, companies have created waterless concentrates for all types of cleaning products that not only require no plastic packaging, but are smaller, lighter weight, and ship to suppliers at a much greater volume and efficiency. Start singing the money song! (Note: Not a real song).

Turn customers into Brand Evangelists

Sustainable initiatives strengthen your brand and give customers more reasons to shop with you. People feel good about doing good and are eager to tell others. I probably have single-handed upped TenTree’s revenue simply by the sheer number of times I’ve gushed ‘It’s made from recycled plastic bottles AND they plant ten trees for each purchase!” to anyone who will listen.

SOURCE: https://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2017-csr-study


% of purchasers will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues.


% of individual purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about.

When something is more than it appears, people are eager to talk about it. It adds to your product value and makes you relevant to a wider circle of consumer interests. When customers love you, they evangelize you to others, generating positive reviews and sales.

Struggling with a bad online reputation? We help get customers to sing your praises.

Standing Up means Standing Out

Many business owners are intimidated by attempting sustainable initiatives in an industry or avenue where there are not many examples to follow, but these industries above all others have the greatest opportunity to enjoy the benefits of change. By switching the elements of your business that consumers can see, feel, and touch with sustainable alternatives, you make a memorable product experience your competitors can’t compete with. Your PR opportunities will skyrocket, and you’ll be known as a pioneer in your industry.


% of consumers view brands that use sustainable packaging and recycle materials more favorably.*


% of consumers specifically look for environmentally responsible products.

SOURCE: https://www.conecomm.com/research-blog/2017-csr-study

What’s the benefit of standing out? Customers are more willing to try new products if the packaging catches their eye, and much more likely to share a picture of your product on social media. Not to mention, attractive packaging has been shown to drive more sales than TV, Radio, AND online reviews.

Looking for amazing packaging design? We can wow even the toughest customers.



of 18-25 year-olds would share an image of a product packaging through social media.


Strong packaging produces an average of 30% increase in product interest.


of consumers reported trying a new product as a direct result of its packaging.

SOURCE: Businessinsider.com | BrandPackaging.com | ThePaperWorker.com

Engage Stakeholders

Imagine, instead of creating value for shareholders at the expense of stakeholders, having both shareholders AND stakeholders engaging, thriving, and loving your business. Sustainability can help create share value, while open communication between stakeholders and your business in an effort to make relevant sustainable decisions better positions you to anticipate and react to cultural and economic change.

Support A Thriving Business Culture

Employees stay with businesses support the things they care about. By adding ethical practices to your business, you can actually positively impact your employee retention and create a happier working environment. This means less turnover, training, and hiring costs.

Find out how marketing can help create an environment employees love to work in.


% of surveyed Americans stated they would and have chosen work spaces based on their strong sustainability plans.


% of respondents said that if a company had a strong sustainability plan, it would affect their decision to stay with that company long term.


Quality: More Profitable than Price

If single use plastic is so terrible for the environment, why haven’t we given it up yet? The answer: It’s cheap. Incredibly cheap, and since its invention in the 1950’s companies have not been willing to relinquish that advantage. Cheap is good, right?

Wrong. Whether in regard to product materials or as a competitive advantage, the one thing smart businesses never want to be known for is cheap.


% more people consider quality the most important purchasing factor vs price, and Discount codes have dropped dramatically in influencing purchasing decisions over the past few years

SOURCE: https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/160569/images/First-Insight_Quality-v-Price_June2018.pdf

Consider the scalability of a brand whose main competitive advantage is price: your business will always be limited to maintaining the lowest available cost. When competing on quality, customer experience, and cultural relevance, your value is almost infinitely scalable (and so is your profit margin). 

By making a product with higher quality materials, you increase its quality, encouraging sales. Worried about your competitors and customers finding cheaper alternatives? Research shows that customers rely on price to determine quality if they can’t determine it themselves, and when searching for a product with a wide pricing scale? Even more.* Think about it: Would you rather a $10 bottle of wine, or $100? Use a $10 face cream, or a $80 one? Price = Quality, and Quality naturally increases price.

SOURCE: Businessinsider.com | BrandPackaging.com | ThePaperWorker.com

Create Financial Stability

Whether it’s through fair trade practices or switching from an unstable ingredient to a sustainably harvested one, Sustainability lays the groundwork for long-term success. Fair trade creates positive impact and relationships, while sustainable harvesting helps reduce the risk that a dwindling resource will become unavailable in the future.


% of earnings (before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) are at risk as a direct result of Climate change, water scarcity, and other sustainability concerns.


% of suppliers report climate change presents risks that could significantly impact their operations, revenue, or expenditures.

SOURCE: https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/160569/images/First-Insight_Quality-v-Price_June2018.pdf

There’s only so long a problem can continue before more drastic measures must be taken, and as the issue exacerbates, we can predict the future will hold a lot of changes and updated standards for businesses to do their part. What’s important to the global mass becomes social standard. Starting now ensures you are ahead of the curve, not fighting to keep up. Businesses that do their part will find transitioning to new opportunities and policies easier. Even now, sustainable businesses in the US and Canada enjoy tax breaks and financial incentives.


% to over


% of worldwide population demand corporate sustainability, regardless of generation or gender identity.

SOURCE: Businessinsider.com | BrandPackaging.com | ThePaperWorker.com


Contrary to what you may have heard, sustainability is one of the smartest decisions a business can make. It may take time to adjust, a little research, and some investment, but it’s well worth it. Whether you are looking to solidify your brand, stand out from your competitors, save money, or provide a more stable future for your business, sustainability is the future of business standards.

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About the Author

Veronica Jean is the Creative Director of Three Summers Creative and a passionate advocate for nonprofit organizations, charitable causes, and social justice. As a Winner of NJ Ad Club’s Best 30 Under 30 Award for Communications Professionals, Veronica’s portfolio of accolades continues to grow. She has lead creative initiatives that won awards from Hermes, AVA Digital, American Web Design, GDUSA, and the NJ Ad Club. Veronica’s passion culminated into a non-profit organization Liv Wilder which raises funds for social causes. She maintains a zero waste, minimalist lifestyle in a country apartment with her two dogs, greenhouse, garden, and art studio.