The importance of companies fulfilling their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), rather than paying lip-service to the environment whilst cynically continuing 'business as usual', is finally being realised by a growing majority of 'ethical' consumers. Businesses must be seen to lead the way, and the Green Awards are a positive and concrete step towards improved communication of environmental and ethical issues to the public realm.
ASDA's sponsorship of the Green Awards follows the supermarket's recent announcement that 'Zero Waste' from its 307 food stores will be sent to landfill sites by 2010. This aim aligns with a review of ASDA labelled packaging, designed to reduce the annual quantity of household waste thrown away by its customers. Recycle, Reuse and Compost will be the new regime at the back of the store: hopefully the customer will follow suit after they leave via the front.
ASDA sponsored the inaugural Green Awards last year, and since their association with the event have been galvanised into launching an industry leading target to cut own label food packaging by 25% by the end of 2007. It has now extended the initiative to all non food areas including George clothing.
Sustainability is seen as fundamental to ASDA's operation and in reference to the packaging issue David Cheesewright, ASDA's chief operating officer stated: 'packaging is an essential part of retailing, but we all know we should use less of it and anything we do use should be easy to recycle and should come from sustainable sources.' The power of marketing and communications to influence public opinion in a positive way, rather than focus on promoting the ethos of conspicuous or unnecessary consumption, must be harnessed and not underestimated.