Businesses turning to green infrastructure to craft a green brand

by Leeza McKeown
May 25, 2017

“Going green” is no longer a fringe social movement. It is increasingly becoming core to the operational and brand strategy for successful businesses.

Sustainability as a customer preference

Customer preferences are trending toward purchasing from environmentally conscious companies. In particular, shoppers seek products with healthier inputs and whose producers’ show commitment to the environment.

Top purchasing drivers for consumers

*Note: Key sustainability purchasing drivers were categorized as either “very heavy influence” or “heavy influence” by the indicated percentage of respondents. Source: The Nielsen Global Survey of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, 2015, Credit Suisse

Businesses are responding to consumers

Consequently, companies are responding to these consumer pressures as they’re seeing the impact on their bottom line.

A Harvard Business School study published in 2011 showed that businesses classified as “high sustainability” — those that voluntarily implemented sustainability practices — were found to outperform those classified as “low sustainability.”

In the world of tech, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are moving to use alternative energy sources to power data centers. In transport, FedEx and Southwest Airlines have made deals to receive alternative fuels to power their aircrafts. Within the food industry, companies like Kellogg and Kraft Heinz publishing corporate reports outlining sustainability goals.

In summary, the most successful companies are actively participating in the environmental movement to boost their brands.

Greening your brand with green infrastructure

One of the best ways for businesses to show their commitment to the environment is with green infrastructure, such a green roofs and living walls.

Green infrastructure has a well-known impact on the environment, including the following:

  • Climate control / reduction in greenhouse gas: Shading and insulation properties of green infrastructure lower reliance on energy (and, when combined with solar, even produce energy), which leads to a decrease in production of associated greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Stormwater management: Green infrastructure reduces and slows stormwater runoff, thus reducing pressure on combined city sewer systems.
  • Urban heat index: The vegetation of green infrastructure lowers temperatures of urban heat islands.
  • Air quality: Green infrastructure vegetation removes air pollutants in urban environments.
  • Wildlife conservation: Green infrastructure can provide a habitat for various wildlife species.

Because of its beneficial impact on the environment, green infrastructure qualifies for a range of points in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program. LEED® can be a positive way to build a green brand by showcasing sustainability commitment to consumers.

Furthermore, unlike many other sustainability upgrades like lighting retrofits or high-efficiency mechanical equipment, green roofs and living walls are inherently visual and often rather striking. They are therefore easy to photograph and share across websites and social media to broadcast a brand’s focus on green to the world.

Thus, from tech giants like Google to trendy startups like Etsy, companies are installing green infrastructure to create a green brand.

Green infrastructure in our own commercial clients

Some of our own commercial clients have been boasting beautiful green spaces to show commitment to the environment

Take GE Ventures, who installed a living wall in its lobby:

General Electric Ventures, Green Living Wall For Green Brand

General Electric Ventures: Green Living Wall

Another living wall takes up a full wall in Rutgers University Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health:

Rutgers University (New Jersey) Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health: Green Living Wall For Green Brand

Rutgers University (New Jersey) Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health: Green Living Walls

Green roofs adorn the New York’s very own Public School District 41:

New York Public School District 41: Green Rooftop Garden For Green Brand

New York Public School District 41: Green Rooftop Garden

All of these companies have attracted attention, showing their clients and building occupants that they care about creating a greener world and that they actively work to support a healthier environment.

So, how can you use green infrastructure to help grow your brand into a green brand?