Canada Goose and Bullfrog Power Harness the Original Sustainability Motivator: the Green Consumer
By: Meirav Even-Har, Toronto
Remember when green consumerism was a tiny niche, making the purchase of environmentally preferred products a full day shopping event? Only a handful of companies offered green products and services to the growing number of people who chose to pay more to feel better - or less guilty - in a consumerist society.
In recent years, the "ethical" or "green" consumer has grown in numbers and preferences. Environmentally friendly product offerings are now increasingly becoming mainstream. For Canadian companies such as Bullfrog Power or Canada Goose, connecting with specific consumer values has helped business.
An event sponsored by Toronto Sustainability Speakers Series titled: "Shared Values": The Marketing Opportunity in the Sustainability Era, explores the triple bottom line with leaders from Canada Goose and Bullfrog Power. Before heading to the event to capture the main ideas for Justmeans readers, it seems worthwhile to explain a little about the two companies.
Making Consumers Pay More for Electricity - Successfully
For many consumers, energy conservation can be a painful act; for companies, it can mean a large carbon footprint. Whether individuals or a corporate head office, Bullfrog Power, a Canadian green energy provider, helps tackle guilt at home and reduce the environmental footprint of business.
The company supplements green energy - local wind and hydro facilities certified by EcoLogo - for equal amounts of electricity, gas and coal used. Although energy sources cannot be replaced, injecting clean energy into the grid means less of the traditional fossil fuel sourced power.
Founded in 2004, Bullfrog has quickly grown to a national company with the strongest public presence of any other green energy provider in Canada. Its corporate clients include Wal-Mart Canada, TD Canada Trust and BMO, among others.
Made in Canada Coats That Give Back
Unlike green energy, a warm and stylish winter coat is always a popular item in the north. Although this winter has been warmer than usual, the Canada Goose brand coats are worn everywhere.
Founded in Toronto, the company continues to produce its extreme weather gear in Canada. Part of what makes a Canada Goose product "credible" and gives it a "cool" factor, is that it is field tested, developed with and worn by those who experience extreme environments, like South Pole expedition scientists.
While it is stylish to wear a Canada Goose coat, its popularity among Canadians is strongly linked to its production in this country, but less so on procurement policies for the use of animal products such as fur and down feathers. To the majority of its customers, Made in Canada justifies the higher cost compared to mass-produced items manufactured overseas.
In fact, the quality of its products is strongly linked to the brand. So much so that earlier in 2012, the company filed a lawsuit against International Clothiers for "unfair business practices"; allegedly creating replicas of its parkas. In a statement the company notes: "Canada Goose prides itself on, and has become known for, designing and manufacturing its clothing products in Canada, and ensuring that they are of the highest quality." 
Sharing Strategies for Success
Bullfrog Power's growth accomplishment is truly impressive; after all, energy is not an easy concept to sell, nor is it a sexy subject. But Bullfrog Power has successfully reached out to both private consumers and corporate audience. And while coats may be more appealing than a greener energy grid, securing a growing and loyal customer base that pays more, when cheaper alternatives are available is also a story worth telling.
Lessons from Bullfrog Power's Tom Heintzman and Canada Goose' Dani Reiss will be shared in a special blog post next week.
 CBC News: Canada Goose sues competitor over alleged replicas - http://bit.ly/zJiNZj
Photo credit: Green Maple Leaf By Doodledoo (via Wikimedia Commons)