Environment: Just a Trend?

Have you ever had someone in public relations ask you, “What is your environmental angle?”  Or, “Is there a eco-friendly angle to that?”  As a seasoned PR professional, I can say that one of the biggest trends in our line of work (along with social media, of course) is the environment.  Over the past five or so years, it seems like EVERYTHING has either developed or has started publicizing in the media an eco-friendly something or another. But here’s my big question… is this environmental push just a trend (as many have reported) or is it more than that?

As time goes on and we continue to see the words “sustainable,” “green” and “eco-friendly” in our everyday lives, having an environmental “angle” will become more of an expectation rather than an angle.  Therefore, if you have not yet jumped on the conservation bandwagon, I suggest you take that ride!  Here are some things (which all conveniently start with the letter P) to think about:

Place – Is your business or organization eco-friendly itself?  Is your office located near public transportation?  Do you have preferred parking for hybrid cars and bike racks?  Have you created an “idle-free” zone in front of your building for shipping vehicles or fleets?  What about the structure, lighting and water system in your building  – are they environmentally conscious?

Process/Production – Does the way in which you manage your production process hurt the environment?   What can you do to lessen the impact?  Are you able to shut down or unplug equipment over night and on the weekends to conserve energy?   Is there more energy or fuel-efficient equipment out there that can get the job done?

Packaging – What materials do you use to package your product?   Are they recyclable or made from recycled content?  Is your company guilty of over-packaging?  One of my biggest pet peeves as a consumer is unnecessary packaging.  I get that we all like to make our products stand out and look pretty, but there are a lot of ways to accomplish that need that don’t require extra material.  Good design for instance is a great way to stand out in the crowd.

Product – This is perhaps most important in the eyes of a potential costumer.  Is your product as eco-friendly as possible?  Can it be recycled or composted?  If so, are you letting your customers know?

Policy – And last but not least is workplace policy.  There are a lot of things an organization can do to in terms of workplace policy that will have a positive impact on the environment.  Do you offer incentives to employees brining their lunch to work instead of driving somewhere?  Do you require all employees to shut down their computers at the end of the day?  Do you offer flextime or work-from-home days in order to reduce the amount of traffic on the road during rush hour?   Have you established an internal team to be in charge of environmental initiatives?