Keywords: Green Marketing, Green Product, Recyclable, Environmentally safe, Eco Friendly, Sustainable Development, Competitive Advantage, Corporate Social Responsibility.Global Warming, Sustainable Development, Globalization.
Growth in marketing activities resulted into rapid economic growth, mass production with the use of advanced technology, comfortable and luxurious life style, severe competition, use of unhealthy marketing tactics and techniques to attract customers, exaggeration in advertising, liberalization and globalization, creation of multinational companies, retailing and distribution by giant MNCs, etc., created many problems. Departmental stores, specialty stores, and shopping malls are flooded with useful as well as useless products. These all factors have threatened welfare of people and ecological balance as well. Particularly, giant factories have become the source of different pollutions. The production, consumption and disposal of many products affect environment adversely.
Excessive pollution has provoked the Nature and the Nature started behaving in unnatural ways (in form of global warming v/s global cooling, heavy rains v/s draught, and other natural calamities like frequent earthquakes and tsunami, cyclones, epidemics, and so forth). Economic growth via production and consumption threatens peaceful life of human being on the earth. Green marketing is an attempt to protect consumer welfare and environment (the nature) through production, consumption, and disposal of eco-friendly products.
Green marketing is the process of developing products and services and promoting them to satisfy the customers who prefer products of good quality, performance and convenience at affordable price, which at the same time do not have an adverse impact on the environment. It includes lots of activities like product modification, changing the production process, modified advertising, change in packaging etc., aimed at reducing the harmful impact of products and their consumption and disposal on the environment. Companies all over the world are doing everything to reduce the impact of products and services on the climate and other environmental parameters. The data from across the globe indicates that the people are concerned about the environment and are changing their behaviour. As a result of this, green marketing has emerged which indicates the growing market for sustainable and socially responsible products and services. Green marketing refers to the process of selling products and/or services based on their environmental benefits. Such a product or service may be environment friendly in itself or produced and/or packaged in an environment friendly way. Concept of green marketing concerns with protection of ecological environment.
Global ecological imbalance and global warming (also global cooling) have called upon environmentalists, scientists, social organisations, and alert common men to initiate the concrete efforts to stop further deterioration of ecological environment. The World Bank, the SAARC, the UNO, the WHO, and other globally influential organisations have started their efforts to promote and practice green marketing. The world environment summit at Copenhagen (2009) is the mega event that shows the seriousness of ecological imbalance. To increase awareness, 5th June is declared as the World Environment Day.
Objectives of Study
‘ To throw light on the conceptual issues associated with green marketing.
‘ To study the impact of green marketing in current scenario
‘ To know policies and practices for effective green marketing.
‘ To know about the different strategies adopted by marketers to overcome the challenges to green marketing.
The present study is exploratory in nature to provide a clear guidance for empirical research. It is also descriptive where the focus is on fact-finding investigation with adequate interpretation. For this purpose, secondary data were collected through annual reports, articles, newspapers, magazines, books, journals, conference proceedings, Government reports and websites.
Review of Literature
Polonsky, M. J. (2011), has presented the Impediments and Opportunities of Transformative Green Marketing. He takes up various challenges to the promotion of Green Marketing and suggested the different strategies to address the potential impediments.
Ghosh, Amitabha (2008), has examined the strategies that are used in Green Marketing. Ghosh highlights the history, growth and challenges of Green Marketing in India and abroad. He also mentions some of the innovative techniques of regulation on corporate environmental planning at various levels.
Vermuri, Narayan Lakshmi (2008), has covered his views on ‘Green Marketing as ‘its new hopes and challenges in the present scenario. The author has tried to establish the ’cause-effect relationships’ of ‘Green Marketing’ at a global level. He has also examined the concept of ‘Marking Mix’ in ‘Green Marketing’. The author has attached ‘Green Marketing’ with opportunity, social responsibility, government pressure and competitive pressure. He has mentioned some of the problematic areas of ‘Green Marketing’ also.
Suresh K. (2006), has discussed the conceptual framework of Green Marketing. He has covered green market, green product design, supplier environmental management, green food claims, the Indian scenario of green marketing, attitudinal and behavioural analysis of Indian consumers of green marketing and other related topics.
Driessen (2005), in his research concluded that in order to maintain a competitive advantage, an optimum level of greenness needs to be identified between innovation performance and greenness, thus avoiding merely capturing the niche green market. So, if the market for environmentally sustainable products is to become main stream, it is important to look at which factors influence the consumer’s selection process.
Sanjay K. Jain and Gurmeet Kaur (2004), in their study found that environmentalism has fast emerged as a worldwide phenomenon. Business firms too have risen to the occasion and have started responding to environmental challenges by practicing green marketing strategies. Green consumerism has played a catalytic role in ushering corporate environmentalism and making business firms green marketing oriented. Based on the data collected through a field survey, the paper makes an assessment of the extent of environmental awareness, attitudes and behaviour prevalent among consumers in India.
Policies for Effective Green Marketing
As companies face limited natural resources, they must also develop new or alternative ways of satisfying their customers’ needs. So green marketing is also a way of looking at how marketing activities can make the best use of these limited resources while meeting corporate objectives.
Set the Right Green Objectives
There are a number of reasons why companies are increasingly considering green marketing:
‘ They believe green marketing is an opportunity that can be used to meet their corporate objectives.
‘ They believe they have a moral obligation to be more socially responsible.
‘ Government regulations are forcing them to become more environmentally responsible.
‘ Competitors’ environmental activities are pressuring them to change their marketing activities.
‘ Cost factors associated with waste disposal, or reductions in material usage are forcing them to modify their behaviour.
Demonstrate Social Responsibility
Many companies realize that they are part of the wider community and must behave in an environmentally responsible way. They set their environmental objectives as well as corporate and profit objectives. Companies who manufacture products can make a further contribution to environmental improvements by encouraging their suppliers to behave in a more environmentally-responsible way.
Comply with Legislation
Apart from proactively adopting green marketing, it is also necessary to comply with environmental legislation. Governments try to protect consumers and society by minimizing the impact of business on the environment i.e. they try to reduce production of harmful goods, modify consumer and industry’s use of harmful goods, and ensure that businesses provide accurate information on the environmental aspects of their activities. For example, with the Supreme Court banning the sale of BS-III vehicles in India from April 1, 2017, auto manufacturers had to update their vehicles to comply with BS-IV emission norms.
Identify Products with Green Characteristics
There are a wide variety of products that support sustainable development and demonstrate commitment to green marketing, including:
‘ Products made from recycled goods
‘ Products that can be recycled or reused
‘ Products with environmentally responsible packaging
‘ Organic products
‘ Services that rent or loan products-such as car sharing
‘ Products that meet or exceed environmentally responsible criteria
Set Realistic Prices
Pricing is as critical in green marketing as in conventional marketing. Concerns about the overpricing of organic foods, for example, has made consumers not believing about certain green claims.
Eliminate Unnecessary Packaging
Packaging has become an environmental issue for marketing due to a number of reasons:
‘ Packaging is a major component of domestic waste and therefore an important contribution to landfill.
‘ Discarded packaging is very much visible as litter.
‘ Packaging reduction initiatives can reduce the environmental impact of a product while also saving companies money.
Practice Greener Distribution
Distribution is a key issue in attracting the right customers for green products and behaving in an environmentally responsible way. Experience indicates that customers will not go out of their way to buy green products just for the sake of it; where possible, products should be distributed through mainstream outlets so that they are not just available to a small niche market of green consumers. If you market your products across geographical boundaries, distribution becomes an environmentally sensitive issue. Look carefully at the physical distribution of your products to find where you could minimize the impact on the environment of your logistics operations. This might mean reducing the number of miles driven by keeping more regional inventory or by using fuel-efficient vehicles for distribution.
Practices Adopted By Different Firms for Green Marketing
After the study, we have found that the various companies are taking initiative in the area of green marketing as a part of their corporate social responsibility. So listed below are the companies who are doing something for the society:
‘ Suzlon Energy manufactures and markets wind turbines, which provide an alternative source of energy based on wind power. This green initiative taken by the company is extremely important for reducing the carbon footprint.
‘ Tata Metalikes Ltd (TML) has initiated the use of only sunlight during in its offices.
‘ ITC has introduced Paperkraft, a premium range of eco- friendly business paper. The company’s social and farm forestry initiative has greened over 80000 hectares of arid land.
‘ Wipro’s computers division has launched energy star compliant products in the market.
‘ HCL is another brand that is trying to introduce eco- friendly products in the market and it has recently launched the HCL ME 40 notebooks. These notebooks do not use any polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material or other harmful chemicals and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency already given it a five star rating.
‘ Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC), India’s largest oil company, has introduced energy efficient Mokshada Green Crematorium, which saves 60 to 70% of wood and fourth of the burning time per cremation.
‘ IndusInd Bank installed the country’s first solar powered ATM and thus brought about an eco-savvy change in the Indian Banking sector. Also, it is one of the first banks in India to discourage the use of paper for the counterfoils in ATMs, and sending electronic messages, it has contributed a lot towards saving paper and reducing deforestation.
‘ Idea Cellular implemented its national campaign ‘Use Mobile Save Paper’. The company organized Green Pledge campaigns to save paper and trees. Idea decorated bus shelters with potted plants and tendil climbers to communicate the green massage.
‘ Samsung offers a host of eco-friendly products. It was the first to launch eco-friendly mobile handsets (made of renewable materials)- W510 and F268- in India.
‘ Nokia’s policy is to reduce the environment impact of its products. It has taken the initiative to take back, recover useful materials and dispose of waste in a manner that causes least harm to the environment.
‘ Hero Honda Motor’s philosophy of continuous innovation in green products and solutions has enabled it to strike a balance between business, consumers and nature. Honda India introduced its civic Hybrid car. However, initially it was unable to sell the same due to the high price. The price was reduced by 8 lakh, and within a day, 98 civic Hybrids were sold, which was more than what Honda had been able to sell during the previous five months since its launch.
‘ Maruti and Hyundai have come up with LPG and CNG based variants for WagonR and Santro respectively.
‘ Reva, India’s very-own Bangalore-based company was the first in the world to commercially release an electric car. Reva is being sold in countries like UK, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Cyprus, Greece and Norway.
‘ Mahindra Group had launched project Mahindra Hariyali in which 1 million trees would be planted nation-wide by Mahindra employees and other stakeholders including customers, vendors and dealers.
‘ McDonald’s restaurants use napkins and bags made of recycled paper.
‘ Apple has adopted the philosophy that going green streams. It recycles e-waste and also generates revenues.
‘ IBM is selling green solutions to corporate data centres where energy constraints and costs are limiting their ability to grow, with the promise that the energy costs would be reduced by half.
‘ LG India has been a pioneer is making electronic gadgets that are eco-friendly. Recently, it has launched an LED E60 and E90 series monitor for the Indian market. Its USP is that it consumes 40% less energy than conventional LED monitors. Also, they hardly used halogen or mercury, trying to keep down the use of hazardous materials in their products.
‘ Eco branding is a part of Haier’s new green initiative and they have launched the Eco Life Series. They have semi automatic and automatic refrigerators and washing machines, split and window air conditioners and a lot more.
‘ Samsung India has always had a roaring range of LED TV screens and now they have come up with eco- friendly LED backlight. They use 40% less electricity have also no harmful chemicals like mercury and lead.
‘ Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has a globally recognized Sustainability practice and has already topped the Newsweek’s top World’s Greenest Company title. It also has a global green score of 80.4% and this has mainly happened due their initiative of creating technology for agricultural and community benefits.
‘ MRF has launched the ZSLK series and this is all about creating eco-friendly tubeless tyres made from unique silica- based rubber and also offers extra fuel efficiency to those who drive their vehicles.
Impact of Green Marketing
1. Now, people are insisting pure products ‘ edible items, fruits, and vegetables based on organic farming. The number of people seeking vegetarian food is on rise.
2. Reducing use of plastics and plastic-based products.
3. Increased consumption of herbal products instead of processed products.
4. Recommending use of leaves instead of plastic pieces; jute and cloth bags instead of plastic carrying bags.
5. Increasing use of bio-fertilizers (made of agro-wastes and wormy-composed) instead of chemical fertilizers (i.e. organic farming), and minimum use of pesticides.
6. Worldwide efforts to recycle wastes of consumer and industrial products.
7. Increased use of herbal medicines, natural therapy, and Yoga.
8. Strict provisions to protect forests, flora and fauna, protection of the rivers, lakes and seas from pollutions.
9. Global restrictions on production and use of harmful weapons, atomic tests, etc. Various organisations of several countries have formulated provisions for protecting ecological balance.
10. More emphasis on social and environmental accountability of producers.
11. Imposing strict norms for pollution control. Consideration of pollution control efforts and eco-technology in awarding IS), ISO 9000, or ISO 14000 certificates and other awards.
12. Declaration of 5th June as the World Environment Day.
13. Strict legal provisions for restricting duplication or adulteration.
14. Establishing several national and international agencies to monitor efforts and activities of business firms in relation pollution control and production of eco-friendly products.
Consumers today are much more concerned about climatic changes than they were few years ago. Moreover, they are expecting their favorite brands not only to share their concern but to take action (or enable their consumers) to mitigate it.
The earlier perception of industry towards green marketing was that the pressure for making business environment green and behaving in a more responsible manner especially comes from Government and its legislations. Now that old perception is changing throughout the globe as studies performed on consumers reflect that in most countries consumers are becoming more aware and willing to act on environmental concerns. There is a radical change in consumer preferences and life styles. They prefer environment friendly products over others and many a times are ready to pay a little extra price for such green products. Due to this shift from traditional marketing to green marketing, companies these days are facing many new challenges.
Green marketing is still in infancy stage and lot of research needs to be done by the companies to project a green Corporate Image rather than focusing on the environmental benefits. In future only those companies will reap the greatest reward that would innovate with new products, materials, eco-centric technologies.