Top five green initiatives in marketing in 2009

LONDON - Tesco and Starbucks are among the brands to launch major green initiatives in 2009.

1 Tesco launches 'buy one, get one free later'

While some commentators dismissed Tesco's 'buy one, get one free later' initiative as a marketing gimmick, Britain's biggest supermarket has this year sought to place sustainability at the heart of its business. The initiative, designed to reduce household food waste, is part of chief executive Sir Terry Leahy's plan to make the supermarket a zero-carbon business by 2050 without the use of offsetting.

2 Starbucks goes 100% Fairtrade

Starbucks single-handedly increased the amount of Fairtrade coffee sold in the UK and Ireland by 18% in 2009. The coffee-shop chain introduced 100% Fairtrade coffee in September and hired Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO to create a campaign to publicise the switch.

3 EDF 'Green Britain' claim comes under fire

Consumers' concerns over 'greenwashing' were evident throughout the year, but when French utilities company EDF Energy used a green Union Jack in a marketing campaign, it sparked a dramatic war of words with smaller rival Ecotricity. While the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) cleared the ad of any wrong-doing, Ecotricity argued that EDF was neither British, nor 'green'. The message was clear: brands must beware of sugar-coating their credentials to a sceptical public.

4 Dairy Milk faces controversy in Ghana

In one of the biggest environmental initiatives of the year, Cadbury moved to promote its switch to Fairtrade chocolate with an ad featuring Tinny, one of Ghana's biggest music stars. However, the wind was taken out of the campaign's sails after the ASA received 29 complaints that suggested the commercial perpetuated racial stereotypes. The campaign was subsequently cleared.

5 Marketing gets to grips with carbon reduction

In September, Marketing became the first weekly print magazine to carry the Carbon Trust's Carbon Reduction Label. The label is displayed on the front cover and inside, on The Marketing Society Forum page, with a longer explanation of its meaning. The experts at the Carbon Trust checked and certified Marketing's calculations of its CO2 emissions to ensure they were consistent with the PAS 2050 carbon-footprinting standard. They then analysed the results and suggested areas in which the title could reduce its carbon footprint. Haymarket, Marketing's publisher, is now working on a plan to further reduce the magazine's carbon emissions. 




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