Five Companies That Use Incentives to Encourage Environmentally Friendly Behavior


From the perspective of both the marketer and the consumer, I can’t help but love a good incentive promotion.  These little delights encourage customer loyalty, reward referrals and are a great way of saying “thank you” to regular patrons.

Lately, I’ve noticed that some of my favorite brands are using incentives to drive different types of actions.  Specifically, many brands are using incentives to drive Earth-friendly APR5_shutterstock_121767160behavior.  In a world where a brand’s corporate social responsibility is often as important as the quality of its products and services, this is an incentive strategy that’s worth considering.

Here are five leading brands that wisely offer incentives in exchange for environmentally friendly behavior (and promote spending dollars with them at the same time!)

1.  Home Depot: Rebates on Energy Efficient Products

Be prepared to rev your engines and gain the envy of all your neighbors because the lovely folks at Home Depot offer a HUGE number of rebates on their eco-friendly products.  Because what is better than a water heater?  An Energy Star certified Tall Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater with three rebates up to $1000!  (Doesn’t it feel good to do good? The $1,000 freebie doesn’t hurt either!)

2.  Staples: Ink and Toner Cartridge Buy Backs

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Can’t you look on Pinterest and find a way to turn those empty cartridges into trendy favors for your wedding?”  NO!  That would be silly (And we’ve looked, sorry people, no dice).  Thankfully, there’s Staples.  Staples is willing to buy back your used cartridges for $2 in Staples Rewards units.  You can return up to 10 per month, and the only catch is, you have to have purchased $30 worth of ink or toner at Staples in the past 180 days. This is a great way to get people coming back into your store and receiving rewards points to keep spending with you in the future!

3.  Starbucks: Bring-Your-Own-Mug and Save

I often find myself wondering where all of those wonderful green and white cups go when the coffee’s gone.  In a wonderful stroke of brilliance (probably non-fat, two-pump, with whip, short double espresso induced), Starbucks came up with one of my favorite eco-friendly freebies, and it’s SO simple.  You bring in your own cup or travel mug, Starbucks fills it with the beverage of your choice, you save 10 cents, and one less paper cup goes into the trash.

4.  H&M: Recycle Your Old Clothes and Get a Discount on New Clothes

While coffee is wonderful, we really cannot go get any in public without something to wear.  You know who understands this?  Our trendy and economical friends at H&M.  They are offering their customers the chance to return the used or neglected clothes in their wardrobes (overalls anyone?).  In exchange for up to 2 bags of clothes, H&M is offering their customers 15% off their next purchased item. Recycling at H&M is going to make you look as good as you feel.

5.  Target: Technology Gift Card Exchange

Last, but certainly not least, is my favorite eco-friendly freebie: Target’s technology gift card exchange!  I realize that this offer sounds far less catchy than it is beneficial… allow me to explain.  If you bring any used or new technological device to Target, they will send it off to be evaluated, and you will receive a shiny new Target gift card to spend on whatever you please!  While you are busy pondering the options of your Target gift card experience, Target is responsibly recycling a device you may have otherwise taken to the trash.

What other brands have you seen jump on the Earth-friendly incentives bandwagon?  Is this a tactic you would ever try at your business?