Today “Green Marketing” is prevalent. We have compiled this article to help you understand green marketing and apply it to your marketing efforts.
Green marketing is promoting products or services based on their environmental benefits. These products or services may be environmentally friendly in themselves or produced in an environmentally friendly way.
Learn more about green marketing to see its role in business and contributions to environmental sustainability.
Green marketing involves companies promoting their products or services in a way that showcases their eco-friendliness.
- Alternate name: Eco-marketing, environmental marketing
When a company showcases its eco-friendliness, that may include products:
- Manufactured in a sustainable fashion
- Not containing toxic materials or ozone-depleting substances
- Produced from recycled materials or able to be recycled
- Made from renewable materials
- Not making use of excessive packaging
- Designed to be repairable and not thrown away
Green marketing begins with a company implementing and practicing sustainable business methods. Companies risk being labelled as dishonest if their business practices don’t match their green marketing messages, so they must ensure they’re practicing what they’re preaching. Authenticity is essential in green marketing.
Companies generally have three angles of marketing their eco-friendliness:
- The items used to make their products
- The actual products
- The packaging of the products are sold in
They may choose to highlight how their products are all made from recycled material, how they are designed to be recycled or reused, their use of biodegradable packaging, or a combination of the three. It’s also common to find larger corporations that participate in various programs that aim to increase company-wide recycling, decrease waste disposal, and support community initiatives.
The green marketing concept was first presented in 1975 in a seminar on Ecological Marketing in the literature held by the American Marketing Association (AMA). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, green marketing became prominent. In the 1980s, the first green marketing wave took place. The tangible milestone for the first green marketing wave was released in Green Marketing books.
These books were by Ken Pattie (1992) in the United Kingdom and by Jacquelyn Ottman (1993) in the US. The development of green marketing has three steps, according to Peattie (2001). During this period, green marketing developed.
The first phase was known as “ecological” green marketing, and throughout this period, all marketing actions helped resolve environmental problems.
The second phase was green marketing “environmentally,” where clean technologies were focused, which involves the conception of new innovative products that care for pollution and waste problems.
The third phase was green marketing, “sustainable.” In the late 1990s and early 2000, it came to prominence. This was the consequence of the term sustainable development, defined as “the ability of future generations to meet their requirements without sacrificing the needs of today.”
From production, packaging, publicity, and relations, every part of the company is touched by green marketing. Every marketing approach aims to focus on one goal, profit through sustainable development.
In opposition to popular assumptions, green marketing focuses not only on protecting the environment through the promotion of green products but also on how these green items can be sold for maximum profit.
Like traditional marketing, companies employ green marketing blends to take advantage of marketing elements and receive a target audience response. The green marketing mix’ four p’s are:
- Product: The items should be designed and developed to use fewer resources and are free of pollution. Moreover, they include no poisonous substance, which can be harmful to their use. In addition, the product must promote precious resource preservation.
- Price: Prices play an essential part in green markets since clients pay the extra cost only if they think they obtain the best quality items in terms of design, performance, appeal, aroma or anything else.
- Promotion: Green advertising may be done in three ways. 1. Your ads will illustrate the relationship between the product and the environment 2. Your advertisements encourage organic and green lifestyles. 3. Your ads display a corporate environmental responsibility.
- Place: Place defines the availability of things, and marketers should thus choose an optimal technique to make products available because their effect on their customers is enormous.
It is commonly known that production of any type requires energy and generates waste. Therefore, green marketing could be an excellent marketing activity that the firm has embraced.
There are many benefits of green marketing, including:
- Demonstrating social and environmental responsibility.
- Implementing sustainable business practices.
- Standing out in an increasingly competitive market.
- Improving credibility in a brand.
- Ensuring the possibilities of long-term growth.
- Educating people on how to make better decisions.
- Reducing expenses and increasing revenue.
- Saving energy and reducing carbon footprints.
- Improving public health.
- Strengthening relationships with target audiences.
Green marketing entails more than just telling your customers that you care about the environment.
So to practice green marketing, there are several best practices you need to follow in your marketing efforts and within your company.
It’s impossible to claim to be a green company when you don’t practice sustainability within your own company culture.
Ensure employees now and during orientation that an eco-friendly atmosphere is a big focus for your company, so everyone from the ground up has the same goals.
Here are a few examples of ways to promote green company culture:
- Go paperless in the office.
- Encourage remote work or telecommuting to reduce gas emissions.
- Use power-saving light fixtures and bulbs.
- Buy remanufactured ink and toner.
- Install hand dryers in bathrooms.
- Use green-friendly cleaning products.
Organizations like Green America, Green Seal, or Green Business Certification Inc. can give your green marketing efforts authority with third-party certifications that you can incorporate into your marketing strategies.
Of course, to receive certification, you will need to prove that your company uses sustainable practices and meets the necessary standard levels set forth by the third-party companies.
In your philanthropic or community outreach efforts, make sure to include green charities and programs that work to further green efforts in your local area or around the globe.
Adding these types of foundations to your donations will further credit your reputation as a green brand and help you connect with influencers and leaders in the green space.
If your company preaches sustainability but partners with brands that don’t address any green efforts in their marketing, you can damage your reputation as an environmentally-focused business.
When you work with other brands with green marketing programs, you can cross-promote your sustainable practices and help boost your reputation among customers and potential leads.
You can also join forces to create cross-company campaigns and promote green education.
Environmentally friendly products will have a higher cost involved as the business practices used to create them will have more steps, more time involved in sourcing materials, or other considerations that lead to higher pricing.
Make sure your green marketing communicates why your prices might be higher than those of your non-green competitors and clearly explain the benefits of environmentally friendly products over the alternatives.
Those new to green marketing might think that only small specialty brands can change their practices enough to be genuinely green companies.
However, that is not the case. Many large, international brands have taken a stand and implemented sustainable practices.
Let’s take a look at five green marketing examples from real-world brands.
Patagonia is an excellent example of a brand that promotes green marketing without falling into the trap of trying to convince customers that every aspect of their business is sustainable.
The retail brand communicates with customers about the materials that still need green alternatives and makes sure the rest of their products use green materials.
In addition to their business practices, Patagonia also donates millions of dollars to sustainable agriculture programs, endangered species protection groups, coral reef restoration programs, and initiatives that work to restore forests.
As one of the most recognizable brands in the United States with a significant global impact, Starbucks has been promoting sustainability and humane
sourcing for their products since the early 2000s.
The company regularly donates millions to renewable energy development and other environmental programs.
Starbucks also reduces waste in their packaging and products with disposable cups, plastic elimination, and green packing materials.
They also create more sustainable practices that reduce water and power waste.
IKEA is a furniture giant that has locations around the globe.
As a significant brand focused on renewable energy and sustainable sourcing, IKEA has developed a “People and Planet Positive” strategy that promotes eco-friendly practices, solar energy, and regenerative environmental efforts.
IKEA is also an example of a company working towards creating 100% renewable energy in stores and reducing its already low percentage of waste to below the current 15%.
Timberland is a clothing manufacturer and retailer that uses green marketing to create a message of sustainability around its products.
Timberland is an excellent example of a brand with such a strong core message that people are willing to pay more money to receive green-friendly products.
By sharing the green stories of current customers and including green material elements in every product, Timberland has developed and implemented an incredibly successful green marketing strategy that continues to grow as the brand makes efforts to use 100% renewable materials in the future.
Beauty brands are often under the microscope to create green and sustainable products as the industry has an adverse history of animal testing and chemical productions.
The Body Shop is a beauty brand that’s built its entire marketing strategy around its cruelty-free testing and green efforts.
The company goes beyond non-animal tested products to address essential actions surrounding farmers’ rights, human rights, and women’s rights.
The Body Shop also raises awareness of critical social issues like domestic violence. Besides that, it is one of many working towards 100% renewable energy.
While companies that do green marketing right can find great success in terms of revenue and personal satisfaction, companies that do green marketing wrong can find themselves with damaged reputations and PR nightmares.
False green marketing, also known as “greenwashing,” occurs when companies claim to have products or processes that are green but are in actuality not made sustainably.
While this is a terrible business practice, some companies still give it a try in an attempt to gain revenue from environmentally friendly audiences without doing the work to earn that business.
To avoid any greenwashing in your marketing efforts, ensure you get genuine certificates from third-party groups.
That way, you can ensure those outsides of your organization check your work, and you can safely promote your products and processes as green without misleading your customers.
We hope that this article has been helpful in your search for marketing that best suits your business model.
Article compiled by hughesagency.ca
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