Taking steps to make your funeral home “go green” can attract a wider, willing audience, simply because your firm advocates – and practices – environmental sustainability. As an example, we’re going to look at Elemental Cremation & Burial, in Seattle, Washington, to see how they’ve integrated “green” into their brand and marketing messages.
What Does “Going Green” Really Mean?
The word ‘going’ implies it’s a process; in this case, it’s where a funeral home owner spearheads the acquisition of knowledge (used to make environmentally-friendly decisions) and adoption of available industry-related sustainability practices, ensuring the funeral home is ecologically-responsible.
To see how owner Jeff Jorgenson promotes the firm’s status as a “green” funeral home, take a look at Elemental’s “How We’re Green” web page, which lists eight ways the firm puts the environment first. Sustainability is even written into the firm’s mission statement:
“Elemental Cremation & Burial is dedicated to the highest level of service for families that have had a loss by bringing experience, creativity and a commitment to our environment and community to the process.”
Why “Green Marketing” Works
Green marketing, or ‘environmental marketing’, is all about selling products and/or services based on their environmental benefits. Such a product or service may be environmentally friendly in itself or produced in an environmentally-friendly, sustainable way. (Source)
Joe Sehee, founder of the Green Burial Council, clearly saw the potential within the drive for sustainability. “It is a social movement. It’s also a business opportunity,” he said. (Source) And it’s a good one.
That’s because environmental sustainability is, across the generations, a very important issue. Baby Boomers, to millennials and members of Generation Z – your future customers– all care about protecting the planet. In “Green Generation: Millennials Say Sustainability is a Shopping Priority,” it’s claimed they continue to be most willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings.
There are three key things you’ve got to do when promoting your funeral home’s sustainability: you’ve got to be honest about exactly what it is you’re doing to reduce your firm’s environmental impact, you need to spend time educating your audience about why what you’re doing matters, and you need to give your audience a chance to participate in some meaningful way.
Your Next Steps in “Going Green”
Read the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “Green Business Practices” to learn more about what’s involved. Work to develop an Environmental Management System to enable your funeral home to reduce its environmental impact. You can find out what’s involved by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s web page, “Environmental Management Systems (EMS)”.
“Going Green”: 7 Things You Can Do Right Now
- Switch to post-consumer waste (PCW) paper, paper products, and packaging
- Use biodegradable cleaners
- Use compact-fluorescent (CFL) or LED lights
- Replace outdated break room appliances with greener alternatives
- Get an energy audit and make simple changes. (Google “free energy audit” and the name of your state for details)
- Use alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles
- Use a “green” web host committed to reducing the environmental costs of running their server infrastructure
The Benefits of “Going Green” Far Outweigh the Challenges
The benefits of ‘going green’ far outweigh the challenges. Focusing on sustainability and being environmental sensitive creates a positive corporate culture and makes for happier employees. Reducing waste and energy consumption and adopting “green” practices generate positive publicity in your local community, within the funeral industry itself, and with prospective customers.
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