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November 11, 2010 / Tara Gremillion

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While there is much debate on whether the college student or young adult really cares about products and brands that are environmentally responsible, what I have come to realize and from what I understand, as a college student and a young adult, they do. People, I hope all people, generally care about making their world a better place. And while we should all do what we can to improve our carbon footprint and be more sustainable in our lives and practices, people are going to continue to do what is convenient for them. Now, that probably rules out taking a scooter to work when you have 30 miles to go or refusing to buy bottled water when you’re at an outdoor event in 90 degree weather, but when two similar products are being advertised and only one indicates that it is better and healthier for the environment, which one are you going to pick? The greener one of course.

Why does it matter to a consumer to choose the one product that is said to be more environmentally responsible with its business practices or production? Because it makes them feel like they are also being environmentally responsible. Picking a “good,” “green” brand translates to making “good” and “green” decisions.

No longer are these consumers who choose the green option “tree huggers” or “crazy environmentalists.” They are normal people making good choices. The scary images of global warming, extinction of animals and landfills filling up the seas aren’t just crazy conspiracy’s anymore, but are becoming the fear of reality that many people are beginning to understand. That is why it is smart, very smart for brands to join in the effort in reducing their carbon footprint and take environmental responsibility seriously.

It is even smarter to advertise about these efforts. However, much of the mistake that company’s have made through their advertising effort is greenwashing. Greenwashing, basically, is when a company advertises and preaches about its great sustainability and environmental responsibility, when in truth they are still causing more harm than good through their production efforts, manufacturing or distribution. When a company is truly green in its business practices and is transparent in their actions, then when they advertise, they will be a leader among brands and chosen among competition for their responsibility and positive change.

Here are some affective green advertising examples:

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