Being green in marketing refers to the practice of promoting products, services, and brands in a way that emphasises environmental sustainability and responsibility. This concept is commonly known as green marketing or sustainable marketing. For today, learn what green marketing is, why it is important, along with the top trends and examples.
Green marketing is a popular concept brands leverage to cater to more eco-conscious consumers. It has become an important driver in the marketing environment, particularly for purchase decisions, as consumers also do not want to contribute to increasing their carbon footprint.
Table of Content
- What is green marketing?
- Objectives of green marketing
- Benefits of green marketing
- Trends and examples of green marketing
What is Green Marketing?
Green marketing is a strategy that involves promoting products or services that are safe to the environment. Some alternative terms that brands today use are ‘eco-friendly’, ‘organic’, ‘recyclable’, or similar in advertisements to emphasise they are environmentally conscious.
Generally, in advertising, brands show how they source or use raw materials, or in packaging that has minimal impact on carbon emissions.
As part of CSR activities, some businesses even state that they donate a certain amount to green NGOs or similar by selling their products. These activities may also be a part of a company’s business strategy that follows the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards.
Overall, this term can also equate to ethical and transparent business practices for the well-being of both consumers, employees, and society at large. Read about the Volkswagen scandal in our blog on business ethics.
Objectives of Green Marketing
The common objectives of green marketing can be summed up by the following.
- Adherence to corporate social responsibility
- Reducing expenses
- Highlighting eco-friendly offerings of a company
- Communicating the brand message (Refer to: What is Branding and its Importance in a Business)
- Implementing sustainable business practices
Green Marketing in the Marketing Mix
From a strategic point of view, many brands are now incorporating green marketing in the traditional marketing mix.
Green Products – Brands manufacture green products using eco-friendly raw materials. These products are required to have environmental benefits when consumers use them, too. For instance, the product saves electricity or does not emit harmful gases into the environment.
Green Prices – The cost of green products is usually higher than traditional ones. Here, brands can offer transparency in the costs involved to make consumers aware of what they are buying and why they should contribute.
Green Place of Distribution – This refers to where and how the products are offered to customers. Here, packaging plays a big role. Many brands today do not use packaging made of plastic. Instead, they offer packaging that is biodegradable. Even the packaging plant is a concern, which is expected to have a low carbon footprint.
Green Promotion – This refers to marketing tactics that promote the brand’s sustainable policies, environment-friendly operations, and so on.
Benefits of Green Marketing
Before exploring the importance of green marketing, let’s have a look at some recent facts and figures.
- According to a recent Deloitte report, 34% of consumers stopped purchasing from brands because they had ethical or sustainability concerns
- Global Green Technology and Sustainability Market size is expected to reach USD 44.4 Billion by the year 2028 (Vantage Market Research)
- More than 200 companies such as Twitter, Salesforce, and others have signed a climate pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 2040 (CNN)
- 81% of millennial consumers look for ‘clean products’, and 76% of them prefer natural/organic ingredients in their products (IBM)
- 70% of consumers are more interested to know about the impact of sustainability of products they purchase (Futerra)
Access to the LOHAS Market Segment
Green marketing lets brands tap into newer market segments that are actively concerned with environmental issues.
One such example is the LOHAS (Lifestyle on Health and Sustainability) segment. This demographic is specifically concerned about how products are made, how the raw materials are sourced and so on.
According to LOHAS Sweden, this demographic is not defined by age or income but by values, and constitutes around 100 million people worldwide. They are highly active on social platforms and tech-savvy too.
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Eventually Reduce Costs by Raising Awareness
Quickly switching to green business practices may become expensive for a brand. Even for consumers, buying green products may need a relatively higher budget. Many experts claim they do help save up expenses in the long run.
One challenge that businesses have to overcome is to create a demand for such products. It is the concept of economies of scale, meaning the more you produce, the lesser the cost.
As you read above, sustainability is a rising concern for millennials, and it is upon businesses of today to spread such awareness so that more products can be created and sold for less.
Have a look at Tesla, for instance. Its mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” According to Statista, it has been the fastest growing brand globally, with a growth rate of over 157 percent in 2021.
Now, there are counterarguments that there is greenhouse gas emission of manufacturing and using electric vehicles too. But, it is still less than the traditional vehicles.
The total greenhouse gas emission (production, use, and disposal) of an electric vehicle is 30% lower than a petrol car and 23% lower than a diesel vehicle. This study was done by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany.
While the growth of Tesla has dwindled a little in 2024, the market of sustainability is seeing a steady growth. Of late, the climate-tech market size will value at $182.5 billion by 2033, according to Exploding Topics.
Trends and Examples of Green Marketing
There are quite a few green initiatives in India that need mention.
- Sustainable India (Sanatan Bharat) – This initiative is India’s response to climate change. Under it, the country has provided 100% electricity to its villages, decreased 38 million tonnes of annual CO2 emissions. By 2030, the government plans to create 450GW of renewable energy and restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
- Prosperous and Vibrant India (Samriddh Bharat) – India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It is striving to hit the mark of being a USD 5 trillion economy by 2025. According to the Division for Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, the country is pursuing an ‘inclusive and sustainable growth trajectory by stimulating manufacturing, building infrastructure, spurring investments, fostering technological innovation, and boosting entrepreneurship.’
- Ban on Plastic – The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India mentions this in the recent Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021. It prohibits the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of single-use plastic.
Following such initiatives, many FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) brands are now focussing on following environment-friendly practices. Some examples of brands in India are
- Colgate-Palmolive – Offering recyclable toothpaste tubes
- Amazon India – Remove single-use plastic usage in packaging and replace it with paper cushions
- Tata Metaliks Limited – Increase greenery in areas where mining and metal industries are, through natural fertilisers, water-neutral operations, etc
Let’s look at some more global brands leveraging green marketing practices in more detail.
LG Electronics’ Green Product Strategy
LG Electronics utilises a green product strategy. Here, the brand aims to reduce the environmental impact through the entire product lifecycle.
LG Electronics also runs the “Green Program Plus (GP Plus)” which is a sustainability-centred supply chain management program. Any supplier of LG must go through its rigorous sustainability test.
The Body Shop’s Environmental Score
Another FMCG brand, The Body Shop, has been focusing on reducing its carbon footprint for decades. The cosmetics brand from England claims that it has never tested products on animals. If you didn’t know, 88% of the 50 largest cosmetic companies in the world fund animal testing (Cruelty-Free Kitty).
The brand also provides an Environmental Score for each product. This score is based on how biodegradable it is. For this score, the brand does biodegradability tests for each ingredient. Then it considers the water required to dilute each ingredient, the origin of the ingredient, how they follow the 12 principles of green chemistry, etc. After that, the brand finds a formula rating over a 12-month period to ensure each year how they improve in reducing the carbon footprint.
So this blog is a snapshot of green marketing. Of course, there are challenges too to address. One is greenwashing, where brands fake their green marketing efforts. Brands such as Zara and Volkswagen have been accused of utilising greenwashing in the past. To make a real environmental impact, firms can ensure how their eco-friendly practices are progressing with statistical data, educate customers and employees about sustainability, and so on.