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WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT The announcement by P&G that it is looking to further expand its Future Friendly platform in 2011 to now target a reduction in packaging materials, as well as truck and fuel usage, is important on several different levels. Not only does the next phase of the program further solidify P&G's lead role as a consumer packaged goods company that is making a significant impact to better the environment, but, at the retailer level, P&G is expecting to see a boost in powder detergent sales.
(THE NEWS: P&G's Future Friendly tackles imminent opportunities. For the full story, click here)
Setting aside the environmental benefits for a moment, these efforts will resonate with many mainstream consumers who, judging by the research, are clearly interested in making a difference in the environment but may not understand how they can make that difference. Furthermore, those consumers are not willing to pay more for products or sacrifice product performance to promote those environmental benefits.
Underlining this notion is a January 2010 national consumer conservation study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of P&G's Future Friendly, which found, among other things, that a lack of information about what to do is the greatest barrier to consumers leading a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
The beauty of Future Friendly is that these are products they already know and trust, and probably already are buying.
In the case of powder detergent, for example, consumers buying those powder cartons with a Future Friendly label will be contributing to a reduction of cardboard packaging, fewer trucks on the road and less diesel fuel being used. Once this message resonates with consumers -- and thanks to the aggressive marketing efforts by P&G and the in-store tools it will arm retailers with, that message should resonate loud and clear -- retailers and Mother Nature will reap the rewards. Clearly, it is a win-win situation.