Currently, the world is in the midst of problems and threats associated with deforestation, water pollution, and air pollution. Companies are disposing of detrimental chemicals and products everywhere. At the same time, global warming appears unstoppable if there are no drastic measures taken.
Fortunately, ecological awareness is increasing, and most people opt for environmentally-friendly products despite higher prices. This is where Green Marketing comes in: Most firms try their best to meet customer expectations and even attract more clients by producing goods and services that respect human responsibility on the planet.
Green marketing is a marketing strategy that aims to positively influence health, the economy, and the environment at the same time. It entails everything a business does, from sourcing materials and packaging to working for positive public relations.
According to environmental experts, green marketing definitely contributes to a healthy planet. It helps to make it a better place for upcoming generations. On the other hand, economists recommend green marketing because it promises to increase profits.
Now, what is green marketing? What makes it different from greenwashing? What are some of the benefits of doing green marketing? How do you develop green marketing strategies? Stay tuned to find answers to these questions and draw inspiration from several examples of green marketing.
Let’s get started.
What Is Green Marketing?
Green marketing is a business strategy that focuses on making the company’s brand, products, services, or charitable efforts more sustainable and environment friendly. It demonstrates how a company develops and sustainably markets products. In simple terms, green marketing strategies promote and support environmental foundations and initiatives.
It began as a means for businesses to showcase their sustainable practices and a tool for brands to demonstrate how they have evolved in response to client requests for better environmental practices.
Businesses that adopt green marketing will frequently find that green marketing becomes the brand’s central message. Many companies divert a percentage of their profits to environmental groups or campaigns for that reason.
However, the line between green marketing and greenwashing is thin.
Difference between Green Marketing and Greenwashing
People are often willing to spend a little more for higher-quality products that help safeguard the environment. Therefore, green marketing is not only about doing the right thing for the environment, but also involves potentially making more money than the competition. At this point, the secondary objective of profit maximization may take over – and we are very quickly not talking about green marketing anymore, but greenwashing.
What distinguishes green marketing from greenwashing? The line separating the two terms is quite narrow. Green marketing, as opposed to greenwashing, is when a company sells a product or service based on actual environmental benefits.
It should meet the following criteria:
- Product or service is produced in an environment friendly manner
- Toxic or ozone-depleting compounds are not allowed
- Use of materials that can be recycled or that are made from recycled materials
- Use of renewable resources of energy such as bamboo
- Materials are not created from materials taken from a protected region or collected in a way that harms threatened or endangered animals
- Products are not made through slave labor or by employees who aren’t appropriately compensated
- Excessive packing is avoided
- Rather than being disposable, the item is designed to be repaired
When a corporation fails to meet the norms of sustainable business operations, green marketing may easily turn into greenwashing. Consumers may be confused and misled by terms such as “eco-friendly, “green,” “organic,” and “natural.”
Greenwashing occurs when a corporation claims to be environmentally sensitive only for commercial purposes but isn’t doing anything to improve the environment. Even when companies have noble intentions, they may greenwash.
Due to greenwashing, most consumers don’t believe in firm promises regarding sustainability measures. However, if you want to win your customers’ trust fully, be open and honest about your business’s methods, and have data to back up your statements.
Why Is Green Marketing Important?
Companies use green marketing to transform the world positively. So the obvious answer to why green marketing is important is the protection of planet Earth. However, going green also allows you to gain consumer confidence and loyalty, which will likely be a major selling point and set you apart from competition.
As the benefit of protecting the environment is rather clear, let’s now spend some time on exploring why green marketing is also quite an attractive strategy from a business standpoint:
Improve your reputation and credibility: An essential advantage of green marketing is that it tends to improve the organization’s reputation. To generate long-term earnings, a company must have a positive image in consumers’ minds.
A firm with a sound marketing strategy attracts not just more customers but also business partners that appreciate its reputation. Going green is therefore one of the most effective approaches if you’re seeking ways to boost your organization’s credibility.
Secure long-term business growth: Choosing environmentally friendly ways may be more expensive initially, but it will pay off in the long run. For securing long-term growth, green marketing strategies should be considered as a viable alternative because many individuals favor eco-friendly items. Especially in today’s age, this point should be emphasized, as sustainability will only grow in importance over the next years.
Unlock room for improvement and innovation: When using green marketing strategies, you must rethink your manufacturing processes and replace raw materials with eco-friendly ones. That gives you the chance to improve your processes, supply chain, packaging and products. It gives you the chance to unlock innovation.
Leverage business opportunities: Focusing on green strategies may often go hand in hand with the company entering a new market segment. While this may initially be costly, it tends to pay off fast. The reason is that while there is plenty of growing demand for green products and brands, the competitive environment is not yet as fierce as in many other market segments.
Gain competition advantage: Not every firm can and will promise to protect the planet while doing business. Meanwhile, a growing share of the population pays increasing attention to just that. Therefore, if you use a green marketing mix, your company will gain a competitive edge over vast parts of the market environment.
How to Develop Green Marketing Strategies
After having understood the importance of green marketing and its advantages, let’s look at how to develop green marketing strategies.
First, you need to integrate sustainability into your organization’s culture. This may sound easy, but trust us, it’s not. Transforming an organization’s culture can be a tedious process. Try to start by reminding staff members at all possible points that eco-sustainable ways of thinking to protect the environment are a top priority for your organization.
When the team is ready to go green, obtain green certification. Green marketing activities need to be authenticated by third-party certifications from organizations such as Green Business Certification Inc., Green America, or Green Seal.
Of course, to acquire certification, you must demonstrate that your firm follows sustainable practices and satisfies the required standards specified by third-party organizations.
You need to support your eco-friendly programs by all means. Include green charities and initiatives that strive to enhance green efforts in your local region or worldwide community outreach activities.
If your firm preaches sustainability yet collaborates with companies that don’t promote green initiatives, you risk damaging your reputation as an ecologically conscious corporation. Join forces with like-minded companies, and turn your supply chain green.
You may cross-promote your sustainability initiatives by collaborating with other businesses with green marketing strategies.
Environmentally friendly items will have a higher price tag since the business procedures utilized to generate them will include additional stages, more time spent obtaining resources, or other factors that will result in higher pricing. Therefore, don’t forget pricing strategies on your way to green marketing.
Ensure that your green marketing mix explains why your pricing is higher than that of your non-green competitors. In addition, highlight the advantages of environmentally friendly product attributes over the alternatives.
Examples of Green Marketing
Let’s now look at a few examples of green marketing.
Apple’s Marketing Initiative
When Apple released the MacBook Mini and MacBook Air in 2019, they stated that these devices were made entirely from recycled aluminum.
That means that Apple is working to decrease the amount of electronic trash they make by developing new eco-friendly goods. Furthermore, Apple employs chemicals that are not only safe for people who use them but also safe for the environment.
For example, they have reduced nickel-metal exposure, which can cause allergic responses. While Apple seems to still have a long way to go in adopting green marketing practices, it has certainly already made significant progress.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson is a famous manufacturer of bandages and infant supplies. It’s also well-known for its attempts to build internal environmentally friendly practices, such as providing on-the-job training to staff and encourage them to embrace sustainable practices.
The corporation established a target of cutting carbon emissions by 20% before 2020. In addition, it also aimed at increasing product recycling. People may follow their development on their official site since they are transparent in their projects.
The efforts of Johnson & Johnson to reduce waste and conserve energy have made it receive accolades of praise and recognition. Many other firms look up to Johnson & Johnson for inspiration.
Patagonia is an excellent example of a company that encourages green marketing strategies without persuading clients that their entire business is environmentally friendly.
The retail brand informs customers about the components it uses, but also those that still require green alternatives.
Patagonia provides millions of dollars to sustainable agricultural projects, forest restoration initiatives, endangered species conservation organizations, and coral reef restoration programs, in addition to their business operations.
Starbucks’ Marketing Campaign
Starbucks is a rare business that has not only embraced green marketing but also maintained a commitment to employing ecofriendly practices to conduct business and attract customers. Starbucks facilities use solar energy to reduce their reliance on other forms of fossil power.
In addition, they have pledged to use sustainable building materials for their stores to reduce the carbon footprint. One of their most successful Facebook campaigns urged customers to join them in tree-planting exercises and street-painting initiatives for the betterment of the streets.
That campaign gained much traction and was well received by people worldwide. They are now working on making reusable cups to minimize the amount of garbage produced.
Unilever is the world’s largest corporation that has made renowned green investments and incorporated a sustainable living strategy into its programs. Changes are being made at the firm to conserve energy, water, and trash.
In 2015, the company’s CEO received the Champion of the Earth award for their successful environmental initiatives.
Knowing what green marketing is and how to do it properly is absolutely crucial in a world moving towards sustainability. Draw some inspiration from the examples of green marketing above or try to come up with your own green marketing strategies. Just keep in mind: Don’t let green marketing turn into greenwashing.