Friday, December 14, 2012

Why a Dozen Clothing Giants Have Bowed to Greenpeace

There are powerful financial incentives that drive corporations to agree to the demands of organizations like Greenpeace. The customers moral concerns can undermine sales and thus it is very directly impacts the bottom line. A dozen clothing brands have now accepted Greenpeace demands to detox and before this there were campaigns directed against KFC, Shell, Mattel and Lego. Through its “Toxic Threads: Under Wraps” report, Greenpeace spurred a global movement that is succeeding in detoxing some of the major players in the clothing industry.

At least twelve clothing companies have decided to heed Greenpeace demands and reduce their environmental impacts including Mango, Esprit, Nike, H&M, Adidas, Puma, M&S, C&A, Li-Ning, Zara and now Levi’s.

This is not only a victory for Greenpeace and the environment it is also a victory for the companies that agree to be detox leaders. This can be a win-win scenario because these campaigns yield real environmental benefit and they help a companies to adopt more sustainable and solvent business practices.  By adopting more responsible business practices they position themselves in a way that improves their competitiveness, enhances their reputation and mitigates against the risks posed by disgruntled consumers and investors.

Why have a dozen major brands acquiesced to Greenpeace demands? The answer is simple, because the benefits of saying "yes" outweighs the costs of saying "no."

However, there is more to this picture than customer loyalty and investor confidence. These actions also have implications beyond the companies being targeted; the repercussions are felt in the wider business community.

In its simplest essence corporations are coming to understand that while there are costs there are also merits to complying with Greenpeace demands. The price of ignoring Greenpeace can prove prohibitive

Resistance to Greenpeace demands poses a very real risk to a corporations bottom line. Companies like Calvin Klein, Gap, and Victoria’s Secret, that continue to resist Greenpeace demands are vulnerable to a consumer backlash.

Greenpeace pressure can be a public relations fiasco for the company being targeted, but by complying with demands to be more environmentally responsible, a company can transform itself into an environmental leader.

Make no mistake about it Greenpeace does use a big stick, but there is a carrot here as well.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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