It may not be happening quickly enough – but it seems to me that we’ve finally crossed the line on the environment – from awareness and concern to varying levels of action and outrage. The high profile media coverage on this issue dates back over a decade at least, to “An Inconvenient Truth” – the Academy award-winning documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim, based on the work of Al Gore. Originally released thirteen years ago in 2006, it was followed in 2017 by the “Inconvenient Sequel”.
More recently, environmental activists in the UK and Scandinavia are becoming increasingly impatient, describing a process that includes mass extinction, insects dying-off, food insecurity, drought, rising seas, ocean acidification, loss of sea ice, pollution, and even losing our soil. The result is the “sixth mass extinction” – this time the one that one that threatens our very survival as a species. The UK organisation “Extinction Rebellion” is organising weekly protests, and even more dramatically, incredible momentum is being driven by the Swedish teenager activist – Greta Thunberg, who successfully mobilised over 1.4 million students worldwide to strike from school, after less than a year of activism. Perhaps it’s her age that is attracting unprecedented visibility – or perhaps her powerful words. As she said so eloquently, “we’re facing an immediate unprecedented crisis that has never been treated as a crisis and our leaders are all acting like children. We need to wake up and change everything”.
If I have learnt anything in recent months, it’s that younger generations are demanding behaviour change from older demographics who have perhaps become jaded and complacent with yet another global emergency to worry out. I know for me, it often seems that, as a race, we are going backwards instead of forwards.
So what can the fuel industry do to help? The reality is that the fuel industry that drives our cars and heats our homes is a leading cause of pollution – although not the only or even the largest one. In fact, agricultural farming is the leading cause of pollution in Europe and like our industry, we hope they are working to identify solutions that also allow consumers food needs to be met.
For fuel retailers, one company has been around for over five years already, offering environmental technology that measurably offsets some of the damage being caused as we re-fuel our cars to drive. Having heard their brief product pitch at the recent NACS Europe Convenience Summit, we are huge fans of their work and keen to help drive awareness of their sustainability services, as another technology platform, like ours, that can effectively drive consumer loyalty for convenience retail brands once the benefits are clearly understood.
Environmental Activists in Action in the UK
Launched in Atlanta, Georgia in September 2014, GreenPrint is a company on a mission to help consumers “erase the burden they place on the environment – conveniently and cost-effectively.” With backgrounds in FMCG, technology and convenience retail, the founders were inspired to create a product that allowed consumers choose their fuel more consciously, giving them for the first time a tangible way to offset their carbon footprint.
As the video below shows, progressive and responsible brands like 7-Eleven can leverage GreenPrint’s technology to get trees planted in local communities, as well as building their brand credibility and integrity, enabling their brand to “shine” while also delighting customers. A win-win solution that truly drives customer loyalty.
7-Eleven’s Renew Programme with GreenPrint which resulted in over 100,000 trees being planted.
After five years in business, GreenPrint shares some impressive results:
- They are offsetting over 1 billion gallons of fuel annually
- They plant over 500,000 trees annually
- Their emissions-reduction programs are available in over 4,500 retail locations
- They’re going global, with programs in 14 countries and 9 languages
A separate initiative that’s gaining ground in the UK and other countries is the focus on reducing single-use plastic. Supported by progressive supermarket brands as well as forward-thinking FMCG brands such as Coca Cola, many are evolving in response to consumer pressure. One brand that’s been driving sustainable packaging even before consumers demanded it is Thornton’s Budgens, a community supermarket in London that was recently awarded the NACS European Convenience Retail Sustainability Award for its “outstanding pursuit of a significant and compelling sustainability initiative”. This supermarket began with eliminating or replacing plastic packaging on over 1,800 products – this is now approaching almost 3,000, with plenty more to come.
Andrew Thorton cites an increase in sales of 4% and global PR coverage with no increase in waste – truly an inspiring story that many retailers can learn from.
As a loyalty marketing platform, our goal is to provide tools and technology that allow convenience retailers to differentiate themselves and delight their customers. We believe that loyal customers are more easily won over by creative concepts that mirror their personal values. And it was exactly this type of insight that led our friends in Loyalty Magazine recently to wonder “Isn’t it time for an eco-loyalty movement?”. I couldn’t agree more.
Perhaps next time you visit your local fuel retailer, you’ll ask if they are ensuring more trees are planted, or if you can earn loyalty points for avoiding plastic-packaged products.
With brands like GreenPrint and Thorton’s Budgens increasingly showing us the way, let’s all make every effort to go greener.
Is Eco-Sustainability The Next Big Thing in Loyalty?
Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialized for the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.
How we do it:
We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.
Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.
One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.
Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:
Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant.
With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards.