Target Green

Q&A: Spyro Kourtis, Green Marketing Coalition

To help marketers establish industry-wide green practice standards, the Hacker Group recently launched a Green Marketing Coalition. Spyro Kourtis, president/CEO of Hacker Group, answered some questions about the coalition via e-mail:

Target Green: How were the standards of the standards for the Green Marketing Coalition determined?

Spyro Kourtis: We spoke with marketers from around the country to find out what they knew about green marketing and what they needed to get started. We found that there were no industry-wide standards, so we approached the coalition by starting with helping them establish benchmarks. Once we assessed the benchmarks we were able to develop recommended guidelines that will help marketers establish their own green marketing practices.

TG: What are the organization’s main goals?

Kourtis: The GMC’s main goals are to help marketers establish their own green marketing practices. By demystifying how companies can incorporate green marketing into their own businesses we can all decrease our carbon footprint. It doesn’t have to be all-consuming. Green marketing can be phased in. What’s more, we don’t expect to be perfect ourselves. This is a work in progress. As new ideas come along, we’ll incorporate them into our practices – as long as it makes business sense. The only way to be perfectly green is to do nothing at all, and that’s not possible. Marketers will continue to market products, but they can do it much more responsibly.

TG: What companies are involved in the Green Marketing Coalition?

Kourtis: The GMC comprises representatives from Microsoft, Washington Mutual, Kawasaki, MSP, Nahan Printing, Inc, Data-Mail, American Recycling, KP Corporation, OptimaHealth, BECU, and FastSigns.

TG: How will the coalition combat greenwashing? And how will it help consumers navigate through the green noise in the marketplace now?

Kourtis: The issue of greenwashing really is one of the main reasons we wanted to establish the coalition. Companies that offer green solutions to consumers, but don’t follow through in all aspects of their business are easily (and, perhaps, accurately) accused of greenwashing. In our case, for example, the coalition helps extend Hacker Group’s green reach to its clients.

And because our clients are large, their decisions can have a huge impact on the environment – positively or negatively. Our company’s goal is to reduce our clients’ negative environmental impact so much that it balances out our own carbon footprint. Other coalition members, I believe, have similar reasons for joining. They see that their businesses are making certain environmental claims, and they want to be sure they’re doing whatever they can to live up to them.

In terms of helping consumers navigating green noise, that’s really not part of our charter. We won’t be giving any “green seal of approval” to any organizations. It’s up to the business itself to follow through. However, because that is the case, I could see where a consumer would feel good about knowing a business was a member in that you could see the positive intentions there, without an obvious pay-off.

TG: Are other PR/marketing agencies involved in the coalition?

Kourtis: We encourage agencies and companies to explore how they can become more green focused. We are always open to hearing from people interested in joining the coalition. They can email us at .

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