Green marketing is the process of advertising products or services based on their environmental benefits. These items or services may be environmentally beneficial in themselves or created in an environmentally friendly fashion.
Green marketing research helps to understand its function in a business and how it contributes to the conservation of the environment.
Why green marketing is growing
Numerous corporations, enterprises, and brands have begun advertising environmentally friendly products and services to raise public awareness about the industry's involvement in climate change. Increasingly, people are purchasing synthetic leather shoes and couches, eco-friendly cars, and recyclable food containers.
This marketing domain encompasses a wide range of activities, including:
- Modification of the product
- Changes in the manufacturing process
- Changes in packaging
- Changing advertisements
- Produced in an environmentally friendly manner
- Contains no hazardous or ozone-depleting elements
- Produced using recycled materials or recyclable materials
- Produced using renewable resources
- Excessive packaging is not used.
- Designed to be repaired rather than discarded
The concept of sustainable marketing and corporate social responsibility is becoming a high priority for brands, and an increasing number are making an attempt to develop sustainable and environmentally friendly marketing techniques as a result of this. Businesses are putting more and more sustainable measures in place to demonstrate a high level of social responsibility, which they hope will improve consumer loyalty to their brands.
The green marketing research doesn't lie:
According to one study conducted, there was a huge shift in consumer behavior during the pandemic. 81 percent of shoppers surveyed want businesses to be environmentally conscious in their advertising and messaging, and 69 percent said they were doing everything possible to reduce their carbon footprint (up from 63 percent just a year earlier).
According to a recent LendingTree poll of 1,048 Americans, 55 percent are willing to spend extra on sustainable and eco-friendly products, and 4 in 10 are likely to boycott companies that aren’t as committed to turning green.
The fact that a key result in a new global analysis from The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by WWF, indicates a whopping 71 percent increase in internet searches for sustainable goods internationally over the last five years should raise eyebrows for brands.
Does green marketing work?
It’s challenging to keep up with the rate of change in the world. Climate, health, and social issues make headlines daily, and we need to do more and faster, according to the majority opinion.
With the increasing importance of corporate social responsibility, green consumers and investors are demanding that companies consider their social and environmental impact before focusing on profit and growth.
As of March 2021, 28 percent of customers had ceased purchasing some items owing to ethical or environmental concerns, according to Deloitte green marketing research.
There were 200 new companies that vowed on September 20th to reach carbon net-zero emissions by the year 2040, including Twitter, Salesforce, and Procter & Gamble. Microsoft, Starbucks, and Nike are just a few of the hundreds of businesses that have already pledged to meet the 2°C objectives by 2030 and align with the Paris COP21 climate agreement. The net-zero race has begun.
When done correctly, green marketing may be a very effective marketing technique. Think about these green marketing statistics:
- To lessen the environmental effect, 48% of consumers in the United States say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits.
- A whopping 73% of Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable items, as opposed to the 66% of worldwide customers who are.
- Companies are altering their marketing approach by boosting their sustainable marketing expenses in order to stand out in the net-zero discussion area and keep sustainability as a market differentiation. According to a recent poll conducted by Environmental Leader, 82% of businesses intend to increase their green marketing spending.
The study results show that the total number of publications from the top 10 most productive countries accounted for 65.9% of the total investigated publications on green marketing.
Green marketing research shows us some of the advantages of green marketing:
- Taking social and environmental responsibility seriously.
- Putting in place long-term business processes.
- Standing out in a crowded market.
- Increasing a brand’s credibility.
- Assuring long-term growth opportunities.
- Educating people on better decision-making.
- Expenses are being cut while revenue is being increased.
- Saving energy and lowering CO2 emissions
- The improvement of public health.
- Relationships with target audiences are being strengthened.
Examples of effective green marketing in action
One recent example of green marketing is the announcement by IKEA that they will begin selling renewable energy from solar and wind sources to individuals and families in the near future. The news was met with positivity from green consumers around the world, who seemed to welcome the move.
Similarly, Patagonia is a prime example of a brand that encourages green marketing without falling into the trap of attempting to convince clients that every part of their business is sustainable.
The retail brand properly communicates with customers about the materials they use that still need green alternatives and ensures that the majority of their items are made from environmentally friendly resources.
A growing number of people will choose to support environmentally friendly firms over less environmentally friendly ones if they can see their efforts reflected in those businesses' marketing.
Greenwashing: the antithesis of green marketing
As coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986, the term ‘greenwashing’ refers to the practice of misleading consumers and audiences into believing that a product, service, or even the organization itself is environmentally friendly or sustainable when in fact they aren’t.
In most cases, greenwashing is the result of a lack of knowledge. Pressure to adhere to environmental standards is increasing as sustainability becomes more widely discussed. As a result, even businesses that lack environmental knowledge are increasingly eager to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
- Third-party certifications do not back up claims that a company’s environmental effect has been reduced.
- Vague promises, such as ‘all natural’, ‘made with recycled materials’ or ‘eco-friendly’, with no additional information.
- Adopting an overly restrictive definition of “green” in order to promote just certain kinds of products or services that have minimal negative effects on the environment. McDonald’s conversion to paper straws is a good illustration of this trend in the fast-food industry. Initially, the shift was applauded by green consumers, but it quickly became clear that these straws could not be recycled.
- Claims about the firm or product are not relevant, even if they are true.
- Promoting a sustainable element of the business, while overlooking the company’s wider environmental impact, is considered the lesser of two evils
Why greenwashing is bad for businesses
Volkswagen committed the cardinal sin of openly lying about its sustainability in 2015. In a statement, the car company admits to using defeat devices to cheat emissions tests on some of its vehicles. This allowed the corporation to use proprietary software to detect emission tests and cut levels. They were releasing 40 times the allowed amount of nitrogen oxide pollution while consciously greenwashing their products.
Nestlé and Lay’s potato chips have also been accused of greenwashing since they contribute significantly to the world’s plastic waste problem and are unsustainable in their production process.
This is visible across multiple industries and ecommerce verticals: in the automobile sector, where BMW advertised a zero-carbon electric car with the option of including a gasoline engine, in the hospitality industry, where hotels excitedly advertised sustainability accolades despite the awards being for a single modest improvement in operations, and in the cosmetics industry, where firms like Tarte Cosmetics and The Body Shop have been accused of greenwashing
Because greenwashing is a marketing ploy rather than a way of taking responsibility for the environment, it has become increasingly commonplace. Green Consumers, particularly Generation Z consumers, are warier in purchasing items or services that do not take environmental concerns into consideration.
It is simply exploitation on the part of businesses, who place a high value on being environmentally conscious while failing to make the required changes to be ecologically conscious genuinely. They are completely oblivious to the potential climate-related consequences of their marketing decisions.
How brands can avoid greenwashing
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States issued “Green Guides” in 2012 as voluntary recommendations to help marketers avoid making false or unsubstantiated claims about their environmental activities.
Marketers should avoid making unsubstantiated claims about a product’s environmental friendliness or “eco-friendliness,” according to a new recommendation issued by the National Association of Manufacturers. These actions can help companies avoid this problem:
- Provide specifics: Utilize clear, accurate, and deliberate language, sentences, and ESG terminology.
- Avoid deception by omission: Make a point of highlighting both the positive and the bad. Avoiding the negative is synonymous with fabricating it.
- Exaggeration is not allowed: Make certain to portray the green attributes of your items or service as they truly are, not as you wish they were.
- Avoid drawing broad generalizations: Make no generic assertions such as “organic” unless the product is certified organic.
- Transparency: Your business’s assertions must be backed up by transparent, proven facts.
Because of water and air pollution, animal abuse, and other environmental issues, green marketing research clearly shows that incorporating progressive ideas into a business’s marketing strategy is important for our planet’s survival. Your company's commitment to sustainability empowers people to live healthier, more conscious, and more responsible lives.