I realize the premise is unlikely. In fact, it flies in the face of what we’ve come to expect from big oil, big banks and large corporations in general. Aren’t these the very companies that bring us environmental disasters, rather than solutions?
The answer is yes, but. The accidents were unintentional. And perhaps business will begin to grasp the big idea that intentional positive actions can be very powerful on a number of levels. Including enhancing the perception of the individual brand.
One very bright spot in this regard is Chipotle’s recent announcement to not allow guns in any of their stores. While this may seem like common sense to you and me, it files in the face of many new, recently-enacted laws that allow people to bring guns just about anywhere. In other words, where the government has failed, a recognized brand is stepping in to restore commons sense. Starbucks did the same thing last year. Kudos to both.
Gun control, like support for gay marriage, is simply a good idea. They both create a better society. But of course the major issue of our time is global warming. And when you read the recent news about polar ice melting and oceans rising, you know that our governments have collectively failed us.
Now, imagine that a major automobile company comes out with a policy that all of their automobiles will get 50 MPG or better by 2015. (Yes, a brand like Tesla already does better than that – but how many can afford one of those?) Or an announcement from General Mills that they’ve come up with a way to use 40% less water to grow the same amount of crops. Or maybe a solar power brand teams up with a housing manufacturer to make every new home they build carbon neutral.
If all this seems a bit Pollyanna, here’s a blog about the financial opportunities around solving global warming. There’s nothing like the profit motive to get things done!
If you’re involved with marketing, think about what your brands could do to improve the planet. It may well be the most important thing you’ve ever done.