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Factsheets on Sustainability Communication at Point of Purchase

Green Marketing Gets Real is a practical tool prepared by Stratos Inc. with the support of Industry Canada, to help Canadian retailers and producers of consumer products better understand, plan for, and capitalize on sustainability communication at point of purchase (POP).  Based on the results of a study that investigated the practices of seven leading companies, "Green Marketing Gets Real" provides practical advice and techniques to help companies determine the  "Why", the "What" and the "How" of sustainability communication.

This tool is divided into four sections:  Key Study Lessons and the WHY, the WHAT, and the HOW of sustainability communication at POP.

1.  Key Study Lessons

2.  WHY Communicate About Sustainability at Point of Purchase

3.  WHAT to Communicate About Sustainability at Point of Purchase

4  How to Communicate About Sustainability At Point of Purchase

Printable version - Green Marketing Gets Real (PDF - 4.18 MB - 14 pages)

Sustainability Communication at POP is Growing and Maturing The markets for sustainable products are seeing strong growth. Consumers are demanding more sustainable products and more information about these products in order to make informed purchasing decisions that are better for the environment, society and for their health.

Leading companies are responding to this demand and evolving POP communication approaches as they test a range of methodologies, and standards and best practices emerge. Innovations in POP sustainability communication include :

1. Putting performance before communication - Aveda, a US-based manufacturer and retailer of consumer products (beauty), ensures strong product performance in function, quality and sustainability before communicating these results to consumers.


2. Linking product and sustainability performance - P&G, a US-based manufacturer and marketer of consumer products (personal care and household), developed Bounty "select-a-size" paper towels to reduce consumption by offering flexible sheet sizes. POP communication focuses on performance, rather than associated sustainability benefits.

3. Simplifying sustainability communication at POP - Out of 100 corporate sustainability commitments ("Plan A"), M&S, a UK-based retailer of consumer products (apparel and food), only communicates about five at POP. Detailed information and progress reports on all 100 commitments are found on the program's website.

4. Engaging consumers to reduce impact - During an analysis to determine the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by the production, transport and use of its shampoos, Boots, a UK-based retailer of consumer products (health and beauty), identified use as the major contributor to life-cycle emissions. They have launched a POP campaign to encourage consumers to wash their hair at a lower temperature, thus reducing emissions.

5. Assuring sustainability claims - Timberland, a US-based manufacturer, marketer and retailer of footwear and apparel, has made public the methodology for their "Green Index Label". Scores are assessed by Timberland's Environmental Development Team and the approach is validated using an internal audit team and stakeholder engagement.