The global carbon footprint is 6% higher during the festive season than during the rest of the year due to the increase in consumption and travel.*
Yet a whopping 85% of consumers report that they have become ‘greener’ in their purchasing decisions in the past five years.** Businesses that can show they are eco-conscious can stand out from the crowd and even charge more for their sustainable products or services.
A green festive season doesn’t mean more plastic holly, mistletoe, or sparkly trees. It’s quite the opposite. Here are 8 ways to show your customers that you care… and the great news is, it doesn’t cost the earth! Pun intended 😊
If you want to decorate a tree in your workspace or shop, make sure it’s a living, indigenous tree! Use eco-friendly ornaments and plant the tree after the season. Even better, donate it to a greening community project nearby.
Get naked with your packaging!
Use recycled and compostable materials for simple, even beautiful wrapping. No packaging or limited eco-friendly packaging is a golden marketing opportunity. Tell your customers what you are doing and why.
Team up with other small and local businesses to offer unique product bundles or offer green alternatives. Emphasise the handmade over mass-produced messaging in your marketing. Offer your employees personalised gifts that they need or give experiences over ‘stuff’.
Get clever with your festive branding
Educate and reward customers for reusing and recycling your products. An example is to sell or incentivise the use of branded bottles, jars, boxes, or cups that can be refilled. It goes without saying that these should be made of sustainable materials.
Use local suppliers and local delivery services to reduce transport costs and support other small businesses. Highlight the local products and suppliers you use, especially during the silly season when delivery times and last-minute shopping is top of mind.
Support a local charity or community initiative and encourage your customers to join in.
Use a carbon calculator app to assess your business’s carbon footprint. Then take action to reduce and offset, and share this information with your customers. This transparency, coupled with green choices for your customers, can send a powerful and positive message about your brand.
Run a competition for local children or employees to create festive season decorations and wrapping using recyclable materials, e.g. plastic bottles, toilet roll inners, scrap paper, old newspapers, old ribbons, string, glass jars, tins, etc. Decorate your office or shop and share it on social media. It’s a feel-good, fun way of being seen and heard amidst all the festive season noise.
Author: Janet Askew
Janet is a trainer, coach, speaker and writer who is passionate about promoting women in business and SMME development. In addition to her consulting work, she is a director of Essentially Natural and serves on the board of the Wot-If? Trust.