Procter & Gamble has announced its support for an environmental initiative called RecycleBank. The Cincinnati-based scheme is designed to encourage consumers to recycle and educate others on how to do so, in return for discounts at retail outlets. This initiative is an effective way of increasing environmental responsibility among Americans, and will no doubt enhance P&G's ethical reputation.
The RecycleBank program rewards consumers who recycle at curbside collection points with electronic 'green stamps', which can be redeemed online at over 1,500 local and national retailers, restaurants and grocers. Proctor & Gamble (P&G) has added to the initiative by introducing a social media channel that allows consumers to post videos on different recycling methods online and earn further points by watching such content. As well as enhancing the ethical reputation of P&G, the initiative will also raise awareness and responsibility among consumers, especially those looking for ways to reduce living costs.
American consumers have shown a complacent attitude toward the environment. A 2010 Datamonitor consumer survey found that while 75% of Americans believe that protecting the environment is important, only 20% are well informed on how to be more environmentally friendly, while 61% believe that environmental harm is simply an inevitable result of the lives they lead.
Another Datamonitor consumer survey conducted between June 2009 and June 2010 found that 64% of Americans have had their finances significantly impacted by the rising price of groceries; therefore, any initiative that can help reduce these living costs will no doubt be greatly received. Because of this, any increases in environmentally friendly behavior will more likely be incentive-led rather than genuinely altruistic. However, the RecycleBank program will at least help to raise awareness of environmentally friendly behaviors among the majority of Americans, who are not particularly well informed on the subject.
Although any increases in recycling are likely to be short term and financially motivated rather than down to genuine and long-term concern for the environment, P&G's sponsorship of the scheme will give it the opportunity to raise awareness of its commitments to more sustainable behavior.