Know About Green Marketing

Challenge for marketers

Tina S
Tina S
Mar 21, 2010
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Green marketing refers to the process of selling products and/or services based on their environmental benefits. Such a product or service may be environmentally friendly in itself or produced and/or packaged in an environmentally friendly way.

According to the American Marketing Association, green marketing is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe.

It refers to the process of selling products and/or services based on their environmental benefits. Such a product or service may be environmentally friendly in itself or produced and/or packaged in an environmentally friendly way.

Thus green marketing incorporates a broad range of activities, including product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising.

Other similar terms used areEnvironmental Marketing and Ecological Marketing.

The legal implications of marketing claims call for caution. Misleading or overstated claims can lead to regulatory or civil challenges. In the USA, the Federal Trade Commission provides some guidance on environmental marketing claims.

The obvious assumption of green marketing is that potential consumers will view a product or service's "greenness" as a benefit and base their buying decision accordingly. The not-so-obvious assumption of green marketing is that consumers will be willing to pay more for green products than they would for a less-green comparable alternative product - an assumption that, in my opinion, has not been proven conclusively.

While green marketing is growing greatly as increasing numbers of consumers are willing to back their environmental consciousnesses with their dollars, it can be dangerous. The public tends to be skeptical of green claims to begin with and companies can seriously damage their brands and their sales if a green claim is discovered to be false or contradicted by a company's other products or practices. Presenting a product or service as green when it's not is called greenwashing.


The term Green Marketing came into prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s.]The American Marketing Association (AMA) held the first workshop on "Ecological Marketing" in 1975. The proceedings of this workshop resulted in one of the first books on green marketing entitled "Ecological Marketing"

The first wave of Green Marketing occurred in the 1980s. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Reports started with the ice cream seller Ben & Jerry's where the financial report was supplemented by a greater view on the company's environmental impact. In 1987 a document prepared by the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need”, this became known as the Brundtland Report and was another step towards widespread thinking on sustainability in everyday activity. Two tangible milestones for wave 1 of green marketing came in the form of published books, both of which were called Green Marketing. They were by Ken Peattie (1992) in the United Kingdom and by Jacquelyn Ottman (1993) in the United States of America.

According to Jacquelyn Ottman, (author of Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation) from an organizational standpoint, environmental considerations should be integrated into all aspects of marketing — new product development and communications and all points in between.The holistic nature of green also suggests that besides suppliers and retailers new stakeholders be enlisted, including educators, members of the community, regulators, and NGOs. Environmental issues should be balanced with primary customer needs.


Green marketing can improve the environmental profile of the U.S. electricity supply if marketers sell a power product that includes a substantial fraction of wind, geothermal, biomass (including landfill gas) and/or solar resources. The generation of power from these renewable resource technologies produces few or no air emissions, no carbon (no net carbon, in the case of biomass), and do not cause irreparable damage to river ecosystems. They will be most vulnerable in competitive markets and can most benefit from consumer support. 

While "green" is difficult to define, and arguments can be made that natural gas and large hydropower are less environmentally harmful than coal, oil, and nuclear power, green-customer demand is unlikely to exceed the supply of large, existing quantities of gas and hydro resources. To make a difference in the amount of emerging renewable resources in the electric system, "green" endorsements should be limited to portfolios that include substantial amounts of wind, solar, biomass and geothermal resources. The balance of the product should contain no greater fraction of nuclear- or coal-fired power than would otherwise be provided by the system mix.

For green marketing to be effective, you have to do three things; be genuine, educate your customers, and give them the opportunity to participate.

1) Being genuine means that

a) that you are actually doing what you claim to be doing in your green marketing campaign and

b) that the rest of your business policies are consistent with whatever you are doing that's environmentally friendly. Both these conditions have to be met for your business to establish the kind of environmental credentials that will allow a green marketing campaign to succeed.

2) Educating your customers isn't just a matter of letting people know you're doing whatever you're doing to protect the environment, but also a matter of letting them know why it matters. Otherwise, for a significant portion of your target market, it's a case of "So what?" and your green marketing campaign goes nowhere.

3) Giving your customers an opportunity to participate means personalizing the benefits of your environmentally friendly actions, normally through letting the customer take part in positive environmental action.



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