Giving Compass' Take:

• Magali A. Delmas and David Colgan share an excerpt from their book The Green Bundle: Pairing the Market with the Planet in which they describe proven - and disproven - methods of increasing green behavior. 

• How can funders use this information to guide green efforts? How do cultural factors influence the efficacy of various techniques? 

• Learn about greenwashing in the meat industry

People care increasingly about the environment but are busier and more skeptical about environmental claims. Products are usually not purchased simply because they are better for the environment, and product quality cannot be sacrificed for sustainable goals. Largely, today’s consumers are convenient environmentalists—they will buy green, but it needs to be on their own terms. Complicating matters has been a steady stream of firms getting exposed for greenwashing and making other false representations. This has made consumers distrustful of green messages. And they are confused about what is really good for the environment in the first place. So, how do you reach these people—a majority of consumers—and convince them to buy green?

The answer lies in the green bundle. Messaging that pairs sustainability with private benefits creates a win-win for consumers. They are not only doing right by the world but also doing the right thing for their own lives. In a sense, they get to have their cake and eat it too—they benefit psychologically from their altruism and benefit in a more tangible sense from added value.

Of course, to change consumer behavior, firms first need to get their message right.

The message must be clear and credible. These may seem like simple imperatives, but many companies fail to hit all of the notes.

  • Practice green modesty and transparency.
  • Emphasize increased quality.
  • Leverage peer pressure.
  • Promote health benefits.
  • Unravel monetary returns.
  • Stimulate empathy.

Read the full article about increasing green behavior by Magali A. Delmas and David Colgan at Stanford Social Innovation Review.