Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny, Wrocław
Ecology has a growing interest among both consumers and businesses. Consumers in their decisions more often pay attention to the environmental aspects of products. Companies try to take into account the ecology in their actions. A growing popularity of ecology causes some companies use this idea (for example, by using the characteristic symbolism associated with ecology) in their marketing activities, but in reality are not-much to do with ecology. This works to the detriment of those companies that actually implement the idea of ecology, because it makes it more difficult to consumers to distinguish truly green products from those seemingly green. Such practices are referred to as "greenwashing".
Ecology, like any other corporate value, it makes sense only if it is authentic and implemented at different levels of organization, in different areas of operation. The purpose of the article is to present the tools for the implementation of corporate values, using ecology as the example. The article is based on literature studies and analysis of secondary data.
Corporate values define the behaviors that will help the company achieve its objectives. Values are not just a component of organizational culture, but an important part of enterprise intangible assets. Many studies have shown that they are valued as much as 80% of company’s assets. Companies that intend to implement "green" initiatives should begin with implementing ecology in their mission and set of corporate values. Globally, 18% of companies listed environmental issues among the set of corporate values. Among Polish companies this percentage is slightly higher (21%).
Corporate Values can be expressed by three tools (Corporate Identity Mix):
Companies that want to express ecology through the corporate symbols should use versatile and readable visual code (visual canon). The visual code consists of specific colors, materials, icons, and infographics. N case of ecology, typical colors are green in combination with white or brown – generally the colors found in nature, not artificial, not bright. Materials that are part of the eco-friendly visual code include recycled paper, organic cotton, and jute. Green visual code is particularly rich in iconographics and signs, known as ecolabels. Companies that want to communicate ecology values through corporate communications should consider whether the message about the environmental issues will be attractive enough for consumers to buy the product. It seems that communication of ecology itself is not able to sell the product outside the group of very consciously and ecology-oriented consumers. Ecology is the promise (reward) deferred in time, and it requires the collective efforts of many individuals, organizations and institutions in order to be fulfilled. To reach a wider audience, it is necessary to enrich the ecology message with benefits that can be achieved within a short period of time. Various case studies of "green" products that have been successful in the market, indicate that the products communication – except ecology – consisted of one of the five additional benefits: efficiency and cost savings, health and safety, improved product performance, user status and the social acceptance and comfort.
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