It’s not easy being green
Firms that have the will to be eco-friendly often don’t have the means, reports Gulf Marketing Review.
January 28, 2010 6:47 by Alex Malouf
According to Saud Al Saati, the franchise owner for Lush in Saudi Arabia, green issues are top of mind for the educated Arab consumer. “To our customers environmental marketing is no less important than any other marketing focus. What we teach and what people understand is that looking after the environment is the same as looking after oneself. Marketing with a focus on the environment spreads educational awareness for the consumer and underlines the various benefits resulting from taking care of the environment around us.”
While Lush’s GM is optimistic that Arab consumers are beginning to understand environmental messaging, Al Saati is still aware that there’s a long way to go. Despite training his staff to push green issues with walk-in customers, he is still not satisfied with the results.
“To be honest, we’ve only achieved 30 per cent of what I had hoped for. Our eventual aim is to ensure that consumers understand and know that by protecting the environment they are protecting themselves… Our hope is that the Saudi market is no less aware and educated than any other market in the world from the point of view of awareness and education in looking after the environment.”
So is green set to become the next big thing in the Middle East? While research suggests that recession-hit consumers are shying away from spending extra money on green products, anecdotal evidence across the region would suggest GCC consumers are still shelling out. For Hughes there’s no doubt that being green is more important than ever.
“We have no doubt that the environment will be a very important business, rather than a modern day Steptoe and Son. However, it is very easy to make mistakes, to jump on a green marketing bandwagon. Unlike in the past it is easy to find people that can help you and your company get it right, be it through carbon offset programmes or CSR initiatives. You need a holistic approach to this, rather than to drive your Hummer to the middle of a desert to have a group discussion. There is an awful lot to understand but we’re making progress.”