The Latest on “Green PR”

October 3, 2007

Joel Makower’s article on does an excellent job of laying out what’s been going on in this latest hotbed of PR activity. Now that it’s not only safe, but good business for agencies to be talking more about the environment, everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon. We hope it’s not just the cash or trendiness that’s motivating them, but maybe we care more about the “end” than the “means.” We already spoke with Fleishman about their plans.

Here are some tidbits from the article:

Everyone’s doing it

In just the past couple of weeks, two P.R. giants — Fleishman-Hillard and GolinHarris — have each announced “worldwide sustainability practices.” They follow on the heels of other large firms that have set up practices focusing on sustainability and corporate responsibility, including Edelman, GCI Group, Ogilvy, and Weber Shandwick. Most of the other biggies — including Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Ketchum, Manning Selvage & Lee, and Porter Novelli — also have focused their sights on the green business world.

A lot of people are still skeptical

Seven in ten (70%) Americans either “strongly” (12%) or “somewhat” agree (58%) that “when companies call a product ‘green’ (meaning better for the environment), it is usually just a marketing tactic.

The big question

Will you steer your clients beyond short-term media hits to create longer-term value by counseling them to aim high, to make bold, audacious commitments in order to stand out from the crowd? Or will you focus on short-term results, creating flash-in-the-pan media moments that celebrate incremental change in lieu of substantive environmental progress?

What’s your take? Have you been involved in any “green” campaigns lately? How have you built them into long term sustainability goals and not just short term marketing objectives?


3 Responses to “The Latest on “Green PR””

  1. I posted about this in the past, but Green PR is actually extremely difficult (

    Also, Todd Defren had a great post a while back on Green PR:

    Joel’s article misses the main point of “green”; companies won’t go green b/c of PR, they could care less about putting out their green PR stories. What they want to do is either save money or make more money. With green technology, renewable energy and green credits this is a huge possibility and will be the main driver of green, and therefore green PR.

    Traditional PR (Joel lists press releases and media coverage) is typically a response to market factors, and green is no exception. The interesting stuff for green PR however is happening in the social media and community realm where companies can engage in conversation directly with consumers concerning their green business plans. I’m not sure if the green business sectors FH and GolinHarris announced will focus on these areas, but that is where the business of PR will thrive within green…helping companies build community!


  2. […] for the sake of our planet and each other, not just for short term marketing gain. We’ve talked about this […]

  3. […] The interesting stuff for green PR … is happening in the social media and community realm where co… […]

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