Do green credentials sell windows?

With climate change sceptics at the helm in the US, and the UK more focussed on trying to keep its head above water as we negotiate Brexit than rising sea levels, Aluplast’s director of sales and marketing Ian Cocken asks if consumers care about green issues.

The official line from the White House is that Donald Trump will keep an open mind when it comes to environmental issues.

At the same time, he has appointed an infamous climate change sceptic Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency he fought as a state official. Trump has, in the past, also labelled climate change as a ‘con job’ and a ‘hoax perpetrated by the Chinese’.

So, with the world’s most powerful man calling it into question, is climate change still important, do consumers care – or is it all just ‘fake news’?

To underestimate the influence that ‘green marketing’ has had on the window industry would be a mistake. To assume that it will remain unchanged given the current shift in political social thinking – the Trump era, Brexit, Isis, and everything else that’s going on – would be just a little naïve.

What we’re about to see is the wheat separated from the chaff; companies that have just paid lip service to green issues to reap the sales opportunities that ‘green’ delivers are going to step back.

Those that have genuinely committed to establishing green credentials and business practices, face challenges but significant opportunities.

Aluplast has been at the forefront of innovation in green window technologies. Processing more than 150,000 tonnes of PVCU in Europe annually – equivalent to 75% of the whole UK and Irish markets combined and with its worldwide customer base manufacturing more than 10 million windows per year – it also has the scale that lends itself to a longer-term view.

Green has sold. For a decade or more, recycled content, high energy efficiency, effective waste management and minimisation strategies have been a pre-requisite to entry to new build and commercial projects.

That’s not going to change. ‘Green’ is enshrined in legislation and specifications. And it’s also more resilient in retail, where it remains important for a broad demographic.

According to Market Research company Nielsen, despite the backdrop of political and economic challenge, three out of four millennials (tomorrow’s window and door buyers) are prepared to pay more for products and services from companies with a strong track record on environmental issues or which manufactured products which contributed positively to it.

At the other end of the generational scale Nielsen also found that marketers shouldn’t “throw the baby boomer out with the water”. 51% of Boomers (50-64) surveyed are willing to pay extra for products with strong green credentials or brand association – an increase of seven percentage points. It said “this segment will remain a substantial and viable market in the coming decade for select products and services from sustainable brands”.

Aluplast’s own green credentials are built around the company’s calcium organic stabilised, recycled content offer. Initially launched through ecotech Ideal 70 – its green incarnation of the Ideal 70 fully sculptured five chamber system – Aluplast has also extended the technology to its new Ideal 4000 system.

Ecotech options use pre- and post-extrusion product and post-fabrication waste plus known source post installation pelletized, PVCU.

Two compound screw feeds then push recycled and virgin material simultaneously through a single dye to create the profile. This separates and locks recycled material away from areas of the frame visible to the end-user, or performs a structural role, which means Aluplast can guarantee service and finish quality.

Energy efficiency offers consumers a more immediately tangible return – something which has also informed our thinking, including the development of the Ideal 4000, and the aluminium cladding option, aluskin (a ‘clip-and-fix’ aluminium fascia).

It offers manufacturers and retailers the opportunity to pitch a WER A+ rated, flexible and contemporary aluminium finished window, at a competitive price-point.

Sustainability and being green will continue to deliver benefits to retailers and manufacturers alike, but it’s about multiple benefits.

As businesses that were faking it to begin with leave the scene, the space will become less crowded and more authentic. Only the leaders and innovators will be left standing and we intend to be leading them.