What is green marketing?
Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Is this organic? Is this product environmentally friendly? How often do you ask yourself these questions while shopping?
I became a part of the so-called “green consumer” movement when I switched from being simply environmentally conscious to environmentally responsible. A report done by Unilever shows that a third of consumers prefer sustainable brands and favor eco-friendly products. Consumers are prone to spend an additional 10% to purchase pure green products and reject the non-viable alternatives, offered by the conventional market. Companies are increasingly recognizing the benefits of becoming environmentally friendly. According to other research, the great reputation of a brand about its environmental responsibility is decided by more than half of its customers that chose “green marketing” as their reason to buy and use its products.
So what is exactly green marketing?
That is where it gets confusing. Different sources offer various definitions of green marketing (sometimes called “environmental marketing” or “eco-marketing”) and the main challenge lays in the lack of standards about what constitutes “green”. Mostly, it refers to the marketing of products or services that promote sustainability and environmental benefits. Some companies aim to produce safe or sustainable products while others focus on reducing a company’s carbon footprint. It is not just presenting “green products" - it is constantly promoting low environmental impacts.
Some examples of green opportunities are making products reusable and recyclable, using recycled materials and green energy in production, reducing production waste and plastic footprint, considering sustainable and organic agriculture, buying and selling locally, reducing transportation energy, unnecessary product packaging, aiming to zero carbon footprint and zero water pollution.
Green marketing has struggled to keep afloat with other types of marketing for decades (apparently, the term “ecological marketing” came into prominence in the late 1980s). Although it took years for shoppers to become environmentally conscious about their impact on the planet, green marketing is finally getting at the very forefront of our minds. Fun fact: the heroes of firstly advocating green values were Ben & Jerry’s! They inspired other organizations (e.g. Coca-Cola) to become socially responsible and take a greater view of the company’s environmental impact. Climate justice, racial justice, peace building, and support for GMO labeling are only a few progressive causes that Ben & Jerry’s has donated millions of dollars to. If there was a Conscious-Capitalism-Done-Right award, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have already had it in their office!
Nowadays, the amount of corporations that respond to environmental challenges by adopting and practicing green marketing strategies is infinite. Whole Foods sells green foods, promotes wind energy, biodegradable food packaging, and water conservation. Timberland rates each pair of shoes it sells based upon its environmental impact and keeps modernizing its stores to use 30 percent less energy than before. Starbucks advocates for sustainable coffee-growing practices, encourages its farmers to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices, and actively promotes environmental responsibility among its stores and employees. Johnson and Johnson became the second-largest corporate user of solar power in the United States and launched a business plan to become the most environmentally responsible company in the world.
What does it mean? Green marketing is the new thinking that has not only changed already existing marketing approaches, provided an alternative perspective, and refocused the whole marketing practice but challenged and replaced previous approaches in just years. Its main focus is to direct every marketing strategy towards a single objective – profit through sustainable development. Sounds amazing, right? This is likely to be the reason why both brands and consumers keep supporting the idea and looking for ways to contribute.
The biggest advantage of green marketing is that environmentally friendly products have a favored position over other brands offering non-eco-featured goods. Consumers are concerned about the environment and change their “consumer behavior” gradually. Thus, green marketing is the perfect balance between achieving both environmental goals and business profitability.
Here, at Green Mo., we prioritize saving the planet and implementing green marketing tactics to satisfy both our clients and their customers.