[Authored by Isaac Lewis, MBA Candidate] The green movement has become a powerful force in today’s marketing environment. Automakers have recognized this trend and are steadily turning what could be considered a liability into an asset. With the rising costs of fuel earlier this year, the heightened awareness of carbon emissions’ impact on climate change, along with a lagging U.S. economy, caused car makers to struggle in attracting and retaining customers. Honda is reaching out to environmentally minded consumers in a variety of initiatives to address environmental and social concerns.
The company's outreach includes support of grass-roots (literally) programs and projects that focus on a healthy environment. In the process, Honda helps to build a sense of community and to create a buzz among those who share concern for the environment. For example, Honda promoted Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup through May 31 of this year by pairing its car dealers with thousands of volunteers to beautify streets, roads and highways. Company paid grants were awarded to those organizations that collected the most litter and recruited the most volunteers for the clean-up .
Each year during Habitat Restoration Day, Honda associates and community volunteers in Torrance, California work to restore the Madrona Marsh’s natural habitat by planting, weeding, and removing debris resulting from decades of oil extraction in the area . Honda’s website, , in addition to providing a wealth of information on environmental issues, lists some of the local programs Honda supports. Barbara Ponce, manager of corporate advertising at Honda says that her job is to communicate Honda's corporate philosophy and that ``consumers appreciate it when a company shares information with them and walks the walk'' .
Honda is being recognized as a company who in fact practices what they preach, from the cars they produce to the plants in which the cars are made. Thirteen of Honda's fourteen North American plants won environmental-management-standard certification. Honda also earned the Union of Concerned Scientists' biennial award for being America's Greenest Automaker. The compressed-natural-gas-powered Civic GX is ''the cleanest mass-produced sedan on the planet,'' and was ranked the greenest vehicle by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The GX, Civic, Fit and Civic Hybrid are among the top 12 most environmentally-conscious vehicles.
Many companies are now attempting to jump on the green bandwagon to capitalize on this trend. However Honda truly brings merit to the green movement. In the auto industry's worst sales year in a decade, Honda sales in the U.S. rose 3% through April over last year. Honda practices what author’s Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane would characterize as “Corporate Environmentalism” by integrating environmental issues into corporate strategy and by demonstrating that they can “serve consumers’ and society’s interests at the same time”.
Authored by Isaac Lewis, MBA Candidate
The CR-Z, pictured below, is a next-generation sports car powered by Honda’s gas-electric hybrid providing clean high performance. Click on this link to view information on the new CR-Z.