With a little help from my friends…

I really like grocery shopping every now and then and I don’t mind going to Walmart. I’ll happily wander down aisles looking at stuff. As a marketer, I find it fascinating. The other day I was struck by how many organic /green products were on their shelves – and in my trolley. For the main part I choose these products not because they were “green” but because I generally felt they worked better, tasted better or were better for me. There is no doubt I bought more organic products because they were there and easy to pick up off the shelf. A lot of this stuff I would’t have gone out of my way to find. Interestingly enough, if you’d asked me if I needed organic chicken or free range eggs I probably would have said “no”. Indeed, if you asked me if I’d pay more for some of these organic products I would have said “no” to that too – and yet  there they are – in my trolley  – and I’m pretty sure those products are a bit more expensive than the standard products I once bought. If I am any example, it is no wonder understanding the “green” consumer  is so challenging !

Walmart’s commitment to social responsibility is impacting not only its own behaviors and  the actions of its supply chain partners but allowing me – and other consumers – to make better decisions. Here’s just one news story highlighting Walmart’s green supply chain management.

In recent months I have been looking at  the supply chain and the impact of organizations that take the lead on social responsibility and green activity. It is great to see the influence that some companies are having on the way we all do business in hospitality and tourism. Iit has been fascinating to learn of the work of Marriott, Wyndham, Darden and Sodexo, to name just a few. More on these organizations in future posts. Nevertheless, there is still much to be done. Hospitality and tourism companies still struggle with how to present their green activities in a meaningful way to consumers. There are a couple of lessons to be learned from my field trip to Walmart for the tourism industry. Green tourism products must be able to answer these questions:

  • Does the product provide greater benefits to the consumer?
  • Can the consumer see the value they get from the product ?
  • Is it easily available?

As we get better at answering these questions we will truly see tourism becoming more green !

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