Posted At: February 27, 2012 7:00 PM
by Brian Haight
Oscar the Grouch, a puppet on Sesame Street, has been described as nasty, mean and an all-around unpleasant fellow. Despite Oscar’s grouchy nature, he is actually a symbol of being green, and not just in color. Oscar loves trash and in several segments preaches the importance of recycling and reusing. He even owned one of the first green houses—his trash can.
Nowadays, more and more companies attempt to be like Oscar in their actions. “Going green” has evolved from being a time-consuming business endeavor to a necessity for all companies. It achieved this status for three main reasons: it’s cost-efficient, it’s a great corporate social responsibility initiative and the public loves it.
Green initiatives have the potential to save companies thousands of dollars in utility bills. Many companies have started being green by using solar panels, wind turbines and water-saving toilets. The World Wildlife Organization actually uses waterless urinals in its Green Headquarters in Washington, D.C. According to worldwildlife.org, each waterless urinal saves between 20,000 to 45,000 gallons of water per year.
It’s not just nonprofit organizations that are going green. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has even begun its own green initiatives by investing in renewable energy sources. Over the past couple of years, Wal-Mart has installed solar panels on some of its stores.
According to David Ozment (2012) in Our Green Power Tops EPA List by 2013 Wal-Mart plans to “have 130 solar-powered stores in California, providing up to one-third of electrical needs for a typical Walmart.” As 2012 progresses, more and more companies will invest in green practices to help shave dollars off their bills.
Not only is going green a cost-efficient practice, but also a newsworthy corporate social responsibility initiative. The best thing about green efforts for a PR practitioner is that it sells itself. You don’t have to craft an amazing story to get the public to have a cuddly, warm feeling about your client.
Instead, “going green” makes a PR professional’s job simpler. All you have to do is simply state how your client is focused on preserving the environment and post some pictures of your current green initiatives. Something as simple as a company recycling plan can portray a company’s concern for its effect on nature and the community.
Probably the most influential reason for green’s sudden spike in popularity is the public’s love of anything eco-friendly. Going green gives them a sense of doing something beneficial for the world.
According to Paul Flatters and Michael Wilmott (2009) in Understanding the Post-Recession Consumer, “consumers have increasingly embraced green products and services over the past decade; they will often pay a premium for the chance to do good and, in many cases, be seen doing good.”
It’s apparent that green initiatives have become a necessity. Green initiatives can save a company money and strongly improve its reputation. Companies should strive to embrace their inner Oscar and promote sustainable activities.
Flatters, P., & Willmott, M. (2009). Understanding the Post-Recession Consumer. Harvard Business Review, 87(7/8), 106-112.
Green’s Rise was originally posted on PROpenMic on Friday, February 24, 2012.