In today’s more socially-conscious world, more and more businesses are now taking a stand on environmental issues that impact the world every day. Customers are more vocal about supporting eco-friendly companies, and businesses are adapting to the growing concern over the climate crisis. With the evolution of climate change, and with customers asking that companies create greener products, a new niche in the business world has begun to carve out its own space known as green marketing.
What Is Green Marketing?
Green marketing can also be called eco-marketing or environmental marketing, which is typically practiced by companies who are committed to creating sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.
Green marketing is a business practice that takes into account customer concerns about the conservation of the environment. When promoting their products or services, green marketers would highlight the green choices of their business. These green choices can include: making eco-friendly products, using eco-friendly manufacturing processes, or providing services that help preserve the environment.
Here are a few examples of green business practices that are emphasized in marketing everywhere.
- Making clothes from recycled material
- Making products without toxic materials or ozone-depleting substances
- Producing goods using renewable materials.
- Avoiding plastic packaging.
- Designing products to be repairable.
A few of these may sound familiar to you because the demand for eco-friendly products has been on the rise in the past few years. People and organizations want to support businesses that are helping the environment. Businesses now understand that to better appeal to their customers, they have to adjust their expenses in packaging, use of nonrenewable materials, energy and water usage, and recyclable items. This practice of social responsibility drives brand loyalty and satisfies consumer needs. Once a business decides to take the position of becoming more socially conscious, they can start allocating costs to put their green marketing efforts into practice.
How Does Green Marketing Work
Green marketing begins first and foremost with the business taking the stand to practice and implement sustainable methods for their goods and services. You never want to implement green marketing if you aren’t ready to be clear and honest about your business practices. Authenticity makes green marketing work, and many companies fall down a rabbit hole when they are dishonest about their practices.
There are three popular angles that companies can take when marketing themselves as eco-friendly.
- Marketing the actual products as eco-friendly.
- Promoting the eco-friendly materials used in production.
- Promoting their product packaging as green.
You can use any of these three angles to position your business as eco-friendly. Whether it’s sharing that your products are made from recyclable materials, how biodegradable the products are, or how the package contents can be reused or recycled.
The ability to be eco-friendly changes as you move up the corporate ladder, but bigger companies tend to enforce green practices to a certain extent at least. You’ll find more and more businesses implementing company-wide recycling, supporting community initiatives, and decreasing waste disposal.
The most popular businesses that take the position of green marketing are grocery stores and restaurants. These businesses often promote organic produce or food that is sourced from local farmers. There has been a steady wave of green marketing in the food industry since 2010, and people now shop or dine with an eco-friendly experience they may not even be aware of. A common eco-friendly product in both of these industries is locally-sourced food, which has proven itself attractive to consumers who enjoy supporting community-focused businesses.
Examples of Green Marketing
We’ve shared different practices and procedures companies can implement green marketing, now let’s talk about some examples. You might recognize a few companies who have spent a long time building green marketing into their brand strategy.
- The oh so wonderful Coca-Cola company created its PlantBottle campaign aimed at empowering female entrepreneurs, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and helping to conserve water worldwide.
- Ikea has implemented several tactics to manage waste and renew energy with over 90% of their buildings using solar panels and using wind farms to generate energy. Their strategy known as People & Planet Positive encourages users to be environmentally conscious by sharing their manufacturing practices which focus on stylish design and sustainability.
- PepsiCo has created numerous campaigns focused on reducing water and energy usage across all business operations.
- Starbucks plans to open over 10,000 environmentally-responsible stores by 2025. It’s Green Store Initiative also discusses how the brand plans to reduce waste, use 30% less water, and 25% less power during their production process.
- The delightfully yummy Hershey bars have started environmentally-friendly practices, committing to cutting their greenhouse gas emission in half by 2025.
These are just a few examples of the world’s leading companies’ plans to help maintain eco-friendly practices in their business. As you adopt green practices into your business, you can begin to determine which marketing strategies you can use.
How to Promote Green Products
To employ green marketing, going green has to be intertwined with your brand messaging. This means stepping back and evaluating each aspect of your business, from budget to manufacturing, production, and more. When you are making the move to become more environmentally conscious, the two key factors are sales and customer loyalty.
Here are a few strategies you can adopt to start promoting green products or services to your customers.
- Communicate your green message through advertising like social media, streaming services, TV, and podcasting.
- Promote green aspects of your company through content marketing that touches all aspects of your customers. This can be on your website, blogs, newsletters, email, social media, and more!
- Conduct market research and use visual content to educate consumers and recommend green improvements within your industry.
- Partner with similar businesses or organizations for cross-promotion to increase sales.
- Support eco-friendly programs and any community initiatives that align with your green efforts.
Green marketing has continued to grow in popularity. By consequence, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) now monitors green marketing and makes guidelines to prevent any consumer confusion on green practices and terms like “recycling,” “degradable,” and “environmentally-friendly” in advertisements. These guidelines manage how businesses position and promote their goods and services. So honesty is a must! Customers will continue to better understand the difference between truly “green” products and those that aren’t.
Are you ready to go green? What new position will your business take as we move into an environmentally-friendly future?