Clorox's Greenworks line of cleaning products, which scored an early victory with the controversial endorsement of the Sierra Club, has grown to dominate the organic cleanser market, according to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle. But it's done so without stealing business from existing brands, like Seventh Generation and Method, apparently:
Just eight months after its introduction, Clorox's Green Works line is on track to generate first-year sales of well over $40 million. It's already outselling all other brands in the green cleaning products niche.
And perhaps most significantly, Green Works seems to be luring customers away from traditional cleaning products rather than from green rivals - expanding the overall market for green cleaners.
This is a particularly 2008 success story. Here's a company with a less-than-stellar environmental history (making chlorine produces pollution, including toxic mercury air pollution, and Clorox has made its business getting that poison into households across America) making a significant contribution to greening up its business and customers. (It also purchased Burt's Bees, long a respected brand among green consumers, and a significant contributor to the effort to diagnose and correct colony collapse disorder among honey bees.)
Because of Clorox's existing reach in the market, having long been a recognized and trusted brand among Americans, it was able to quickly introduces its product and convince shoppers to try it. "It" is a 99% natural, nontoxic product that works nearly as well as harsh cleansers (it doesn't cut grease or disinfect quite as effectively, according to the Council of Better Business Bureaus). For consumers making the switch from some of Clorox's other products, that means $40 million less was spent on potentially toxic cleansers because of the success of Greenworks.
The Daily Green sees this as a success story because the biggest U.S. companies -- with their tremendous power and budgets -- will have to be part of the solution if America is to successfully go green. It shows how the little steps by individuals can be magnified in important ways when corporations make little steps.
Clorox Greenworks and its top two green competitors, for instance, still command just 4% and 3%, respectively, of the total market for general all-purpose cleaners and glass cleaners, according to market data published in the Chronicle.
We've got a long way to go, but this is a good step in the mainstreaming of green.
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