On May 10, 2012 the Corporate Partners Program in coordination with UCLA Center for Corporate Environmental Performance and Net Impact hosted a workshop on green consumerism. The green marketplace is now a $200 – $400 billion endeavor and growing.  How companies best capitalize on and implement green marketing strategies to deliver both sound profits and a healthier planet is of ever increasing importance. Panels explored how corporations can better connect with green consumers, with a particular emphasis on Southern California’s economic engines: entertainment, recreation and tourism.

Brief summaries of the talks can be found below:

Joe Baratelli
Executive Creative Director
Rubin Postaer and Associates

Joe Baratelli presented his firm’s work on behalf of Honda Motor Company. He presented its campaign for the Honda Insight hybrid-electric vehicle and said his firm is currently preparing for the launch of the 2013 Honda Fit EV (electric vehicle). To reach Green Consumers, Baratelli emphasized the importance of developing an emotional connection – and the goal “to be a company society wants to exist.”

Steve Boyd
General Manager, North America
Tern Bicycles

Steve Boyd presented his firm’s efforts in approaching Green Consumers. He cited exemplar companies, Patagonia and Method, that emphasize the importance of authenticity. He said Green Consumers are the “most passionate and savvy” group, so it’s important to live sustainability every day. Boyd also noted the importance of “re-framing” for Green Consumers: his product is not “just a bike” but rather a solution to three of our largest problems: congestion, pollution, and obesity.

Debbie Levin
President
Environmental Media Association

Debbie Levin explained how Environmental Media Association (EMA) harnesses the entertainment industry and media to motivate sustainable lifestyles. She described how the EMA helped the Toyota Prius achieve outstanding success with Green Consumer activities such as placing the Prius with celebrities. The vehicle became synonymous with “cool,” thereby helping motivate the trend of purchasing the Prius. She added that celebrities want to be smart and passionate about causes, so love supporting and affiliating with the environmental movement.

Magali Delmas
Professor of Management
UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
UCLA Anderson School of Management

Magali Delmas presented her latest research on Green Markets and Greenwashing. While noting the risks and challenges of “greenwashing,” Delmas noted that, in just 20 years, U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have surged from $1 billion (in 1990) to nearly $27 billion (in 2010). She constructed a “Green Consumer Bell Curve” comprised of Dark Green Consumers, Light Green Consumers, Excuse-Makers, and Brown Consumers. Her survey results indicated that people purchase green products primarily to achieve “improved personal health” – secondary to “reduced environmental impact.”