Jacquie Ottman's
Green marketing Blog

Jacquie Ottman's Green Marketing Blog

Defining Biobased

Biobased products are getting a lot of attention lately. Who doesn’t like the idea of making products out of corn, soy and other agricultural ingredients? We are proud to be working with the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) BioPreferred program. It’s a USDA-led initiative designed to increase the purchase, use, and evaluation of biobased products, including biopolymers.

USDA defines biobased products as those composed in whole or in significant part of biological ingredients; forestry or renewable agricultural materials - including plant, animal, or marine (e.g. algae) ingredients. USDA identifies more …Read more...


Smart-Grid Enabled Appliances will help U.S. Green Marketers Compete in the Global Clean Energy Race

The global clean energy race has begun and the powerhouse economies of Asia-China, Japan and South Korea -are already proving to be key challengers. Although the United States and E.P.A. have made great strides, the Obama administration has yet to take firm action in the form a comprehensive clean energy bill, forcing conscientious businesses and consumers to carry the baton for the U.S.

On the green marketing front, the future of energy consumption in the United States lies in ‘Smart-Grid Enabled Appliances’. Invested players including government, and product and software …Read more...


Method’s New Laundry Detergent—A Drop in the Bucket?

Method deserves kudos for its new super-concentrated laundry detergent: 50 loads packed into a trim squirt bottle and 95% plant-based. Sounds great! A major achievement that should put Tide and Wisk on notice and turn heads at Wal-Mart. But let’s not let Dropps get lost in the hoopla.

Dropps, the product of a Philadelphia-based start-up, represents what may be an even greater achievement in source reduction. Eschewing the concept of dispensing with detergent from a bulky plastic jug, 20 dissolvable detergent capsules (“dropps”) come packed in a collapsible plastic pouch. …Read more...


Green Marketing Done Right! Join me February 12, 2010

Want to learn how the pros do green marketing right (and some of them a little wrong?) oin me February 12 for a 90-minute installment of the Sustainable Brands Boot Camp. It’s a 13-week series of 90 minute sessions, one per week, conducted by experts in sustainable branding and green marketing.

Join me Friday, February 12 and get a sneak preview from my new book, due out later this year about how to court mainstream consumers credibly, impactfully—and without a hint of greenwash.

I’ll specifically be sharing: some of the …


A Smart New Way to Segment Green Consumers

When you target customers, it helps to know if they’re “dark green”, “light green” or “basic brown” in their attitudes, but, with so many green issues, products, and labels out there, it may be more relevant to your branding and communications to understand their personal green interests.

Ask: To which environmental organizations do members of our target audience belong (The Appalachian Mountain Club or Greenpeace)? Which types of vacations do they take (hiking or the beach)? Which environmental magazines and websites do they read or visit? (Sierra or Animal Fair?) …Read more...


How Nike Reduces Toxicity to Balance Consumer Needs with Enhanced Corporate Reputation

Toxicity affects products at every stage of their life cycle, so naturally, reducing toxicity is good for business.  As I discuss at more length in my latest book on green marketing to be released later this year, it reduces the liability associated with worker rights, and via alternatives that are safer to handle, can enhance productivity and cut workers’ compensation claims.  And of course, there’s the opportunity to market to the growing number of mainstream consumers looking for safer alternatives.

Nike’s Considered line of reduced toxic shoes

Nike aims to …


Underscore Health Benefits to Add Relevance to Green Marketing Messages

AVM Safecoat Paint

As I have said numerous times over the years, the number one reason why consumers buy greener products is not to “save the planet” but to save their own health. AFM understands this well—and puts their understanding of this green marketing fundamental to work in two ads that do a great job of underscoring the health benefits of their line of Safecoat paint.

One ad features 16 buckets of paint lined up in a row. Fifteen of the buckets are painted …Read more...


When it Comes to Marketing Green Appliances, Silence is Golden

Ads for Bosch’s super quiet, high performance appliances make a point about doing green marketing right loud and clear: focus on the benefits most relevant to consumers.

As I discuss at more length in my soon-to-be-published book, “Consumers buy products to meet basic needs, not (primarily) to save the planet.” Said another way, consumers walk into the store with their, well, consumer caps on, not citizen ones.

Commercials for Bosch’s super-energy efficient appliances focus on how quiet they are, with secondary emphasis on their environmentally preferable attributes. In one ad …Read more...


Opportunities for Marketing to the Green Consumer

Consumers buy over $200 billion of natural personal care and cleaning products, organic produce, hybrid cars, fair trade coffee, compostable plates and cups, and other green products and services.

Please join me on February 4, 2010 (in New York City) for Opportunities to Market to the Green Consumer.  Network with members of the Columbia Business School Alumni Club and other senior marketing professionals from New York.  Listen to green marketing practitioners from HSBC, Ozocar and Sundance Channel talk about opportunities to build green brands, innovate new products and services, and …Read more...


How to Avoid Greenwash

Greenwashing—communicating (even unintentiionally) that one’s product or company is greener than it actually is—is the Number One challenge of green marketers today. Greenwashers can expect swift retribution from consumers, advocates and the media in the forms of lost sales and tarnished reputation.

To help smooth the way for our clients and other green marketers, I’ll be moderating a special virtual conference on Thursdday, Jan 14, 2010.  It’s called: Building Credibility, Avoiding Greenwash.

Join us online for a look at unfolding strategies and best practices for establishing credibility for your sustainable …Read more...


Guest Blog: Green Marketing and the Simultaneous Pursuit of Growth and Reputation Enhancement

This is a guest blog post, written by Eric Lowitt.

A company that I admire shared a story that highlights a green marketing conundrum faced by a growing number of companies. The story, told by a progressive drink distributor, went something like this:

The company held an off-site with the salesforce dedicated to one of their key accounts. The company invited executives from the key account to present ways the company could increase sales through the account. Nestled among the usual suspects was “prove that you are a sustainability leader.”



Earn Your Sustainability Certificate!

Looking to learn more about sustainable business? Want to switch into a green job?  Consider earning a certificate in Sustainability from the MAKING GREEN FROM GREEN Sustainability Certificate Series hosted by the Columbia Business School Alumni Club of NY (which I Co-Chair). All you need to do is attend 6 of the 8 topics in order to be certified. (OK to just attend one or two events, too -- and you don't have to be a member of the Columbia B School Club, the series is open to all.)

This …


Why Jacquie Ottman’s Green Marketing Remains Relevant

Guest post by Peter Korchnak, who writes the Sustainable Marketing Blog.

I recently read for the first time and reviewed Jacquie Ottman's Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation (2nd edition) and this is what struck me: "[M]ost of what I read nowadays about sustainability and marketing, Jacquie covered in Green Marketing more than a decade ago."

Though sustainability* has made inroads throughout the corporate world, with the likes of Nike and Walmart implementing sustainable practices on a large scale, green marketing literature and blogs recycle the …Read more...


What If Mainstream Consumers Don’t Care About Green?

A professor from India queried me this morning about this intriguing green marketing question: How are we going to serve the customer who is not at all worried about green? In India with the kind of population we have the awareness levels I feel India is going to be a tough market where people are more price concious than Environment.

Government may or may not provide any incentive to the green consumer.

My answer (and I hope it's not too glib): Not to worry!  Most green products simply work …Read more...


USDA Proposes Voluntary Label for Biobased Products

If you're a manufacturer, or part of another organization that deals with "biobased" products (i.e., made out of agricultural, forestry, or marine-based ingredients), you will be interested to know that our client, the USDA is proposing a special eco-label for such products or packages. Examples of products on the government's "BioPreferred" list include PLA-based plastics, vegetable oil-based cleaning fluids, and soaps made from natural ingredients—but not food or fuel.

You have 60 days, (from now until September 29) to comment on this proposed "BioPreferred" eco-labeling …Read more...


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