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Review: The Indispensible How-to (and How-Not-to) Guide to Making, Marketing ‘Greener Products’

Image Credit: Youth to the People/Racked

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a book that summarized the successful sustainability strategies typically showcased at Sustainable Brands conferences?

The second edition of Greener Products: The Making and Marketing of Sustainable Brands (CRC Press, 2017) [Ed. note – Not affiliated with Sustainable Brands®] is that book. It is a practical and highly accessible book for anyone interested in making money, designing and selling better products, or saving the world. Written by a market-savvy eco-business professional, it explains everything from why ‘greener’ products are desperately needed to how to design, evaluate and market them – a must-read for all business professionals and for environmentalists seeking hope in the rapidly emerging ‘greener’ economy.

The original, 2012 edition of the book quickly became required reading in boardrooms and college classrooms because it condensed twenty-five years of professional experience into an easy-to-read tour of sustainability. The latest edition updates readers on the successes and missteps of the companies, brands and strategies detailed in the first edition and highlights some of the latest efforts to continually improve the design, making and marketing of better products.

Written by Al Iannuzzi, Senior Director of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability for Johnson & Johnson, readers are taken on a tour of industries, strategies and tools all attempting to balance the potentially competing environmental, financial and social demands facing all global organizations. His unique view as a sustainability professional who leads internal ‘greening’ efforts within his own organization, who works with suppliers to help them improve their product offerings and participates in collaborative efforts involving multiple industries provides Iannuzzi’s readers with a variety of perspectives through which to view corporate sustainability efforts.

Like every Sustainable Brands conference, there is something in the book for everyone:

  • Section One addresses the environmental, consumer and regulatory drivers for more sustainable products.
  • Section Two highlights the approaches companies use to design these more sustainable products – from specific design-for-the-environment tools such as Cradle to Cradle, environmental labels and product scorecards – to company-wide efforts that engage employees throughout an organization, such as GE’s Ecomagination and J&J’s Earthwards programs.
  • Section Three focuses on successful efforts to market better products, including knowing when to promote more sustainable innovations and when to let other consumer benefits drive marketing efforts.

Among the great new content in the second edition are engaging, in-depth chapters written by other leading experts. Two chapters stand out:

  • In Chapter 6, Libby Bernick, a senior executive with Trucost, offers a concise discussion of natural capital that defines the concept, explains how companies are calculating it and how they are using it to make better decisions. Using examples from Coca-Cola, Dell and others, Bernick demonstrates how calculating the value of natural capital can identify business risks and opportunities.
  • Chapter 8, written by John Jowers and Ivellisse Morales of OgilvyEarth, provides the latest consumer marketing research and marketing insights to increase the sales of more sustainable products and services. Directly addressing the “green gap,” the gap between consumers who ‘say’ they want greener products and those that actually ‘purchase’ greener products, OgilvyEarth offers nine specific ways to close the attitude-behavior gap. Among their suggestions are bribing consumers, losing the green-crunchy language and avoiding making sustainability “girlie.”

Anyone already in or desiring to understand the sustainable business world should have two copies of Greener Products, Second Edition – one to keep as a valuable and inspirational reference, and another to share with others.


Scot Case is an internationally recognized expert on sustainable business strategy development, responsible sourcing, green supply chains, and environmental marketing with almost 25 years of professional experience. As part of Springboard International, Scot works with for-profit, non-profit, and government organizations… [Read more about Scot Case]