Today we are going to review what green marketing is and the main advantages it brings to a company. Environmental sustainability is one of the most relevant issues worldwide and is involving governments, companies, and consumers. Consumers have never been as environmentally conscious as they are today, and this is impacting companies’ organizational and business processes. The importance of communicating sustainability for a company is increasing exponentially. As never before, companies have an increasing need to communicate sustainability and direct their actions under a new banner. This is how green marketing is born.
What is green marketing?
Green marketing is the promotion of products, services, or activities described as ecologically safer or more environmentally sustainable. In other words, eco marketing is about selling the image that your company is environmentally conscious. But it is not enough for your company to start transmitting only an image of awareness, it is necessary to start having a real attitude of transformation and environmental, social, cultural, and economic responsibility.
It is a marketing resource combined with actions that aim to benefit the environment. This strategy, therefore, focuses on demonstrating that the company’s production method, products or behavior do not harm the ecosystem. It is not enough for the company to be environmentally conscious; it must also demonstrate in practice that it is environmentally responsible. To identify green marketing strategies, actions often have phrases such as: “our product does not harm nature” or “our products are 100% natural”.
Green marketing refers to the development, marketing, and distribution of products designed to minimize negative effects on the environment, in response to consumers’ ecological concerns. Green marketing falls within the scope of corporate social responsibility of companies and responds to the social change we are currently experiencing. Today’s consumers are concerned about protecting the environment and demand that ecology be part of the values of the brands with which they interact.
Some of the characteristics and modes of action through which you can recognize companies with green and sustainable marketing strategies are:
- Sense of responsibility
- Resource conservation
- Knowledgeable about economics
- They have a fully sustainable sales pitch
- Their actions are relevant to their environment
- They are honest with their actions, both internally with their employees and externally with their customers and suppliers.
- They have the conviction of an ecological conscience for the conservation of the environment.
When was the green marketing strategy born?
Ideas of respect for the environment began to emerge in the late ’60s when production volumes of man-made materials increased and the use of pesticides was questioned, as they not only harmed people but also animals and the environment. In the early 1970s, the famous environmental organizations Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth challenged the idea that man is the king of nature.
The interest in preserving the environment also influenced the product market. The green approach gradually began to spread: in the 1960s and 1970s, consumers began to pay attention to environmentally friendly products, although, of course, they were far from modern green marketing. In the 1980s, several “green” brands appeared. These included the English cosmetics brand The Body Shop or the U.S. supermarket chain Whole Foods, which began to create environmentally conscious products.
Finally, in the 1990s, green brands gradually ceased to be a niche story. Green marketing, or eco-marketing, emerged, i.e. the so-called promotion of environmentally friendly products or brands. Generally speaking, these products must be environmentally friendly or created through environmentally safe production. They must operate without toxic or ozone-depleting substances, as well as without excessive packaging, and use recycled or renewable materials.
What kind of green marketing strategies are there?
Sustainability can be found in all areas of business. The same goes for green marketing or sustainable marketing. From quick tricks to elegant eco-friendly campaigns, you can employ different green marketing strategies. One simple strategy is to create “green graffiti” i.e. facades and billboards using moss, grass, and other plants. Here green marketing and lead marketing are connected, saving resources and efforts. At the same time, no chemicals such as paints or varnishes are used.
Another excellent green marketing strategy is the use of well-designed PDF catalogs. While physical catalogs are cumbersome when it comes to finding a product. Thanks to PDFs you can reach a greater number of regular and potential customers, without the need to use sheets of paper, inks, and printing. With this type of catalog, you save time and money and remove the negative effects on the environment.
You can also use marketing campaigns that focus on giving away certain products to your customers in certain situations. Pens, pendants, and the like are rarely used, they are almost always discarded. Instead, give an environmentally friendly product as a gift: personal care products made from natural raw materials, natural teas, organic spices, or other consumer products that completely suit your target group of potential customers. Surprise your customers with something really practical and ecologically friendly.
What are the advantages of green marketing for brands and companies?
- It improves brand image and reaches target groups oriented with ecological values. Nowadays, many potential customers want to know that the products or services they have purchased have no negative effect on the environment. Especially millennials who want to identify with brands that are not only in business for profit but also seek to make the world a little better every day. With green marketing, you can effectively convey these principles.
- It creates higher levels of loyalty. If you are willing to give back with your profits, you will create more opportunities for people to support you. In other words, start by using solar panels in your company; it may be a costly investment that will lower your profit margin, but it will help conserve the environment. Additionally, if your company has a true ecological conscience and it is perceived by employees, applicants, and customers, you are taking the right steps towards sustainable customer loyalty.
- It increases profit margins. People are willing to pay more for a product when the product’s value proposition is greater. Green marketing helps you achieve this. It gives consumers the opportunity to contribute to environmental conservation through your efforts. As a company you have to invest more in “green processes”, but customers will be willing to pay more for them, so the benefit does not diminish and in some cases increases.
Examples of green marketing
PepsiCo is one of the world’s largest food and beverage producers with annual revenues of more than $65 billion and a product range that includes brands such as Quaker, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, and Frito-Lay. Over the past decade, PepsiCo has become a leader among water and energy conservation companies. PepsiCo’s sustainability efforts include working with farmers to monitor water use and carbon dioxide emissions to maximize yields.
Nestlé has focused its environmental strategy on the packaging. The company is committed to making 100% of its packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025. Nestlé’s main goal is to help its consumers reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 million tons by 2030. By 2025, the intention is to recycle 100% of organic waste (currently at 80%). From 2030, Nestlé aims to process more than one million tons of plastic.
IKEA, for its part, uses many tactics and sources to manage waste and renew energy: 90% of its buildings have solar panels, it uses wind farms to generate energy, it has planted millions of trees and the company sends only 15% of its waste to landfill. Ikea has received numerous awards for its environmental sustainability efforts. It is recognized by Impact Company for demonstrating respect for human and economic rights, as well as for its contribution to the environment through regenerative efforts.