ibuyeco, a new eco-friendly car insurance scheme that offsets 100% of customers’ CO2 emissions for the duration of their policy, was launched in the UK at the end of April 2007. The company has just started a strong above the line advertising, including television and other national media.
Created by the Budget Group, one of the UK’s leading insurance intermediaries, ibuyeco is one of the first car insurance products to offset 100% of a car’s carbon emissions. Customers pay an additional amount to their premiums. Payments are calculated on the type of vehicle and the estimated mileage, details provided by customers. Using this method, the typical family car travelling a mileage of between 10,000 and 12,000 would require an offset fee of roughly £20, for example. ibuyeco buy carbon credits through The Carbon Neutral Company who in return puts the money towards projects that reduce carbon emissions. These projects fall into different categories including: increased energy efficiency, forestry projects and renewable energy, and are based in both the UK and overseas.
The launch of ibuyeco is the result of a social trend that TomorrowToday has been researching for sometime and which we are calling the “rise of the ethical consumer”.
In November 2006 Barclays announced the first carbon neutral debit card and we’re expecting a large number of companies to follow ibuyeco and Barclays. The important issue though is, are these companies jumping onto the global warming marketing bandwagon or does carbon reduction form part of the company’s values and long term strategy? Another question is why did Budget need to launch a new company and why doesn’t it position the Budget brand as an ethical brand? Hiding behind a new brand for marketing reasons will not pay dividends unless the company itself changes.
When it comes to targeting the “ethical consumer”, made largely out of Generation Y, companies had best practice what they preach. If they don’t, this generation who is highly connected via the web will spread the word and ruthlessly weed out the pretenders.
Companies need to do more than launch new products and advertising campaigns professing to support initiatives that reduce global warming. Companies need to be taking steps towards reducing their own carbon emissions and communicating their efforts, in carbon friendly ways! Carbon reductions need to be part of the company’s day-to-day strategies and way of work. It has to become integrated into the company’s culture and demonstrated in a number of ways, from the way they employ recruits to how they run their meetings and sell their products. There is no point a company asking consumers to buy its product so that they, the consumer can contribute to carbon emissions, when the company itself is contributing to carbon emissions by making clients fill out massive application forms and accept loads of marketing mailings.
Our advice to companies thinking about targeting customers using carbon reduction schemes, is to first integrate carbon reductions into the fabric of their company’s culture before they launch new products. The new ethical consumer will buy from your company because of who you are (your company’s values) and not because of what you sell.

TomorrowToday Global