Richard Eagleton puts energy-saving into practice at last year's Thames Festival: but can he flip?

In advance of our Selling Green breakfast event next week, we tracked down one of the guest speakers to ask him a few questions about what’s green, what’s a great product, and what’s the difference.

Richard Eagleton is the Group Marketing Director of Aga Rangemaster Group PLC – and with a Central St Martin’s background and a career that started in product design at Dunhill and Wedgwood, we reckon he knows what makes things work. Rangemaster cookers are the most recent member of our Energy Saving Trust Recommended stable, so we thought we’d pivck his brains about the difference (or not) between luxury products and energy-saving products.

Q: You’ve had a thriving career in luxury goods, which lots of people see as being at odds with saving energy. What, to your mind, is the most beautiful green product?

I believe that all brands, regardless of their positioning in the market, should – and frequently do – relish the challenge to innovate by developing products that save energy and show leadership in running their business operations to exactly the same agenda.

For me personally, the Rayburn 355W is a perfect example of a beautiful green product – a woodburning cooker that also heats the home and provides hot water using renewable energy. The original design brief for the very first Rayburn back in 1946 was ‘to generate as much heating, hot water and cooking from the smallest amount of fuel’ – just about the most up-to-date brief anyone could write for a product today!

Do you think green marketing is different from ‘non-green’ marketing?

No! Green wash, however, is an entirely different matter…

Kitchens are getting bigger and better, people are getting extensions and making the kitchen the family hub; how can we capitalise on this?

Our Great British Kitchen Survey last year revealed that more and more people are cooking from scratch, growing their own herbs and vegetables, and turning their back on supermarkets by shopping locally. In fact, families with a range cooker do more of these things than those with any other type of cooker, and view their kitchen as the heart of the home and central to family life – spending significantly more time in the kitchen. And the more time people spend in the kitchen, the greater the demand for quality products that are energy-efficient and built to last.

The climate change debate is pretty much won; the weather’s getting extreme, energy bills are rocketing… why aren’t more consumers going green?

I think the answer to this is simple – consumers buy great products, not green products. My experience is that consumers will seek out and pay more for products that use less energy, providing they are relevant to their lifestyle, and don’t compromise on quality or performance. The rapid growth in sales of our range cookers with induction hobs is a good example of this. Despite the fact they look almost identical to a ceramic hob, a significant number of consumers pay more for an induction hob knowing that it’s a more energy efficient one.

Selling Green is being held to discuss the principles of green marketing – or, more precisely, how to ensure that you can deliver what you promise when your organisation makes green claims. The event takes place at 9am on Wednesday March 30th. It will be streamed online, as well as open to physical attendees – so do register and join in! We’re taking advance questions for the panel via the registration form, and the event will be viewable afterwards as well.