Research conducted by Arjowiggins Graphic revealed that 37 per cent of UK businesses found that understanding what they can do next on sustainability is the biggest environmental challenge they face. It is important for SMEs to show consumers that their business is growing more sustainable, as failing to demonstrate this can result in falling behind competitors.
The key is to be transparent about current uses in the company; consumers will appreciate honesty and can fully understand the success of your savings, when it can be measured against your original figures.
This is where environmental accreditations come in. Trusted experts can work out how well you’re doing and map out your next steps to ensure your business is sustainable. One such programme is the WWF paper index, that enables businesses to see which paper companies are the most sustainable.
Communicate your efforts
The first time a customer engages with your business is usually one of the most important. Sending marketing material to customers is still a powerful way to raise awareness of your company’s agenda.
For example, 64 per cent of consumers would perceive companies in a positive light if their marketing material were printed on sustainable paper. Printing direct mail or any marketing material on recycled paper instantly shows consumers that your business is active in reducing its impact on the environment
Use tools that showcase your efforts to customers. There are various tools available, one example of this is the Environmental Benefit Statement (EBS), which measures the difference between using paper produced using virgin fibres and recycled paper. The EBS evaluates how much landfill, greenhouse gases, litres of water, energy and wood are saved with every sheet of paper and can be printed as a pdf on marketing material.
When you’re on the way to reaching your goals, communicate this with the consumer so that they can feel good about using your service.
Shannan Hodgson is marketing and corporate communications manager for Arjowiggins Graphic.
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