I am always pleased to hear about businesses and organisations who have realised that adopting green or ethical policies is more than just a ‘marketing ploy’ to win customers. Regular readers of my blog may recall that Google is one such company. It provides healthy, organic food for its employees which is often cited as a important benefit of working for them.
So, as you can imagine, I was delighted to discover that eBay has a devoted green site called Green eBay www.green.ebay.com. I’m not sure that a lot of people know about it but it is really good and I recommend a visit there – from green driving and kids toys to clothing and light bulbs, it really is an innovative concept and a great shopping experience in true eBay fashion!
Green eBay was started as a group of 40 passionate eBay employees who wanted to make the company a truly green place to work. The team now comprises 2,500 eBay employees in over 25 countries, all promoting green, sustainable business practices within eBay, volunteering in their communities, and supporting environmental legislation. The eBay Green Team members are committed to a greener lifestyle of better products, better business, and a better way of living. This is the main reason I believe it works – their passion filters through to the customer; you know they really believe in what they’re doing. And of course, there are many great products on there too!
They were savvy enough to realise that real positive environmental impact happens when people make seemingly small, eco-friendly choices on a regular basis andthat this impact can really add up. They also believe that being green shouldn’t come at a high price and that eco-friendly actions should actually save you money – that it should literally pay to be green. A very switched-on attitude and absolutely true! It is out of this belief that their latest innovation, eBay Green Driving, was developed which was designed to provide drivers with ways to reduce both money spent at the pump as well as their environmental impact. With petrol prices heading in one direction only, there’s never been a better time to green your driving and ease some of the pressure on your finances.
It is perceptions such as these that puts eBay ahead of the game – they have learnt that adoption of green policies is an important strategic tool. These days with soaring prices, many of us have no choice but to lead a more frugal lifestyle and if being green’s one way of doing it, then it doesn’t seem quite so bad!
eBay is not the only large corporate embracing green practices. Although I wouldn’t say they possess the same ethics or have adopted green policies in the same way that eBay has, H&M, the world’s second largest clothing retailer is also trying to remake itself as a greener option and is now positioning itself as the ethical solution; the retailer that can make ethics and fast fashion synonymous.
Recent finanicial reports have indicated some impressive sustainable figures: for example nearly 2.5 million pairs of shoes were made last year using lower-impact water-based solvents; all building contractors have signed a code of conduct to ensure "good" working conditions; recycled polyester equivalent to 9.2 million plastic bottles has been used and H&M uses more organic cotton in production than any other group. This year, 7.6% of its cotton was organic. By 2020, 100% will be sustainably sourced cotton.
While H&M is by no means perfect, today’s fashion’s production system is reliant on low-wage production in some of the poorest countries of the world. You’ve heard the stories about cheap labour, but at least H&M are getting better by trying to improve and be as good as possible at sustainability. Whilst acknowleding that there is more to do, they are working in many ways to achieve it having realised the importance of greener solutions.
I believe many other companies have also realised the importance of greener policies. For instance, I recently purchased organic cotton t-shirts in Zara and Benetton stores. They were also reasonably priced, a real bonus! Also, with food never far from my thoughts, another Swedish store, IKEA (Swedes are good at this kind of thing aren’t they, or are they just smart?!) now has an organic food section within its sales area featuring a small selection of reasonably-priced organic foods such as pasta, jams and drinks. No doubt there are other companies also doing similar things and as andwhen I discover them, I will report on them here!
The evidence is clear that smart thinkers are thinking green with companies increasingly using green strategies as part of their business models. Perhaps they have realised that it’s a great formula to win customers? Of course we’re in no doubt they are ultimately commercially driven. But, there is a feel-good factor associated with ethical shopping and if, as eBay has shown, it can actually help reduce your spending whilst saving you money, then there’s no doubt in my mind that for companies and consumers alike, green’s the way to go. As the title of the blog says; smart thinkers think green!