Greener Products: The Making and Marketing of Sustainable Brands covers best practices in green marketing in use by top companies throughout the project life cycle, from innovation and development to product marketing and labeling. This post is part one of a four-part series on strategic corporate sustainability communications from both regulatory and market-driven perspectives.
The leading factor that seems to bring public distrust of industry is a lack of transparency. The public is leery of firms that don’t appear forthright with information and are not telling them all they know about an issue.
A good example of this is the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). When the use of GMO crops first came to the public eye, there was outrage. Cries of Franken food and environmental group protests were prevalent. However, GMO crops have the possibility to address food shortages by being resistant to bad weather, insects, or viruses. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it makes you wonder if the companies that developed these GMO crops had an emerging issues management program and did they see the outrage coming? Could they have been more transparent? Would it have been possible to have reached out to the opposition groups and share data? I don’t have the answers to this, but a robust emerging issues process would have given this issue a better chance of not being the firestorm that it was.