The Economics of Ecological
TOO MUCH GREEN FOR GREEN?
Headden believes that any dip in the green trend is due to the economy, instead of fading interest. People want to go green, but as Headden quipped, "You know they'll go green if they don't have to spend more green to do so."
Christopher Duffy, MAS, senior vice president of marketing and business development for Bag Makers, Union, Ill., agreed. "When [end-buyers] are given the choice and you don't bother their wallet, they're happy to take the eco," he said.
Duffy mentioned that before eco-products were in demand, Bag Makers would specially source them for end-buyers who requested them. "It would be a higher price, of course … and we'd give the price to the distributors and they'd suddenly say, 'Well, you know what? My customer's not that eco-friendly,'" Duffy explained.
To determine if price was the only objection to eco-friendly products, the company decided to absorb the extra cost of producing recycled paper bags and mark them the same as the nonrecycled bags. "The sales proved the people liked the eco versions, especially at the same price," said Duffy. For 2011, Bag Makers decided to eliminate the line of non-eco bags and give consumers the recycled ones.
Even though green products might not be the most cost-effective option, the pay-off is high for some. This is why having green products is a selling point that distributors and end-buyers should not ignore. Duffy explained that many end-buyers have asked to use the Bag Makers' eco-friendly icon, because they can "add it to their logo and add it to the bag," which sends a positive message. "It just supports that company being eco-friendly," he continued.
Because effectively promoting green products can be difficult, Headden advised distributors to sell to the 20 to 30 age group. The younger generation is very involved in the green movement so selling eco-friendly products to them is a no-brainer. Older generations will follow as they see the popularity and positive impact of green goods. Headden joked, "You can give something young to an older audience, but you can't give something old to a younger audience. You know, the 60-year-old would love to be 20 again, but the 20-year-old's not looking to be 60."