Go green

в. The Sofia Echo | Miroslava KOSTADINOVA | 2010-04-23

Green communications in the marketing mix – Bulgaria’s perspective

In recent years, "green" communications has become a regular part of the marketing mix. An increasing number of managers realise that social and environmental responsibility is important to their businesses stakeholders – customers, partners, employees, and their families. Communicating responsible corporate behaviour reinforces that behaviour and adds value to the business.
But what is "to go green"? Well, basically it means practices that can lead to more environmentally-friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles. This in turn can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations. By communicating "green messages", companies can boost their image but also inform and educate their consumers.
More and more Bulgarian companies are becoming "green" in one way or another. Green business communications has recently become fashionable in Bulgaria, encouraged by a real necessity of local business to demonstrate ecological consciousness, which in turn is motivated by the growing number of potential clients who are looking for goods or services that are made or delivered in ethical ways.
However, most green actions of Bulgarian companies consist of one-day campaigns – cleaning parks and public places, planting trees, or simply adding an "eco" to their titles. A green campaign creates a positive short-term PR effect and is relatively low cost. That is one reason why companies like them. Those campaigns might add to a company’s public image for a while and generate a bit of good media coverage, but they rarely have a long-lasting effect.
Because green practices take many forms, people are often perplexed about what it is to "go green" and, in many cases, managers themselves are not clear about what green means, and without some good PR advice they risk misleading their audiences.
Still, there are a few Bulgarian companies that have taken the road to sustainable operations. By making constant efforts and dedicating budgets to bringing a green approach to the business environment, they bring sustainable practices in the operations of the company but this, precisely, is what the end users are looking for when they buy a service or a product.
These are also supported by local and central government initiatives such as the Annual Programme of the Sofia Municipal Fund for SMEs, announced last month, which sets a preference in granting guarantees to sustainable Bulgarian companies.
Sustainable business development and its communication has become a priority for businesses across Europe. How do we encourage business to adopt practices that are profitable, sustainable and do no harm? That is a question that will need to be addressed by more and more Bulgarian companies over the coming months and years.
Miroslava Kostadinova is Country Manager (Bulgaria) at Cook Communications Tel: 02/9807185 www.cook-comm.com

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