A study on Green Marketing and its Impact on the Society
Marketing is an essential act that helps in enhancement of standard of living of the society. It attempts to create and satisfy consumer needs. It builds foundation for and gives sense and life to the production of any product. However, over the years, it has come under severe criticism because of many products being unhealthy to consumption, packages being non-recyclable, production processes being pollution-driven, and so on. To face this challenge, marketing should have the objective of not only earning profit by satisfying the consumers with less prices but also keeping the consumers and society healthy by distributing such products in such a manner acceptable to all stakeholders in the long run. This understanding lead to the concept of green marketing with its elements such as green product, green price, green consumer, green branding and green distribution. This paper talks about such elements along with the relevance of green marketing and the problems associated to it.
Key words: Green marketing, Green product, Eco-friendly, Environment, Impact
Consumers are the nerve centre of marketing. They should be satisfied by marketers in all dimensions to have a continuous relationship. Product quality for immediate satisfaction with cheaper prices alone cannot create satisfied consumers. Marketers are bound to consider the state of ecological environment they are responsible for. This has led to a multi-dimensional development, called, green marketing.
Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposure, climate change and ultraviolet radiation contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries. Children and old age people, birds and animals are mostly affected by environmental degradation and, according to WHO, such diseases are preventable if necessary efforts are taken. Green marketing can help a lot in resolving these issues.
1.2. Review of literature
A green marketing focuses on the lives of humans and brings a qualitative change in the relationship between customers and companies. (De Bakker & Frank, 2009)
Green marketing strategy has to address some fundamental areas such as developing a green product, green positioning, setting green prices, application of green logistics, proper waste management, launch of green promotion, forging green partnerships and in essence having the right green marketing mix. (Peattie, 1999)
Companies have to make necessary alterations in the product design to be in harmony with environment, which may require huge investment. Having designed products, they need to be positioned appropriately. (Singh, 2004)
Some companies prefer to indulge in promoting their products through media pro-environment, to reach out to environmentally conscious groups of customers. (Staib, 2009)
Developing green products involve huge sum of money in terms of research and development, wastage management, recycling and incorporating other external costs. But, there is a tendency among customers to pay a premium price for green products considering the positive impact. (Keegan et al., 2000)
1.3. Objectives of the Study
1. To study the background of Green Marketing
2. To understand the green initiatives in India
3. To analyse the impact of Green Marketing
4. To learn the relevance of Green Marketing and suggest measures.
1.4. Research Methodology
The data for the study are collected from secondary sources such as reference books, published articles in journals and internet materials. The analysis is done with the help of data available in the monthly and annual publications, books and websites.
1.5. Limitations of the Study
This study gives a broader outlook of green marketing. Green Marketing consists of various elements such as product planning, pricing, channel and promotion, each of them can be individually studied. The study does not have primary data. It uses only secondary data for analysis.
Green Marketing- An overview
Green Marketing is a comprehensive adaptation of green measures in all areas of business activities, keeping in mind the interest of all stakeholders: profit to owners, health and satisfaction to consumers, self-sustainability to society, socio-economic development of a country and holistic existence of the world.
Charter (1992) has defined green marketing as a holistic and responsible strategic management process that identifies, anticipates, satisfies and fulfils stakeholder needs, for a reasonable reward, that does not adversely affect human or natural environmental well-being.
Green marketing consists of efforts by organizations to produce and promote products in a manner that are conducive to ecological concerns. The green marketing practices verifiable claims such as green messages, green packaging programs, recyclable and reusable packages, safe transportation, and so on. Health is a concern of every consumer. Environmentally conscious consumers purchase eco-friendly products and services, even at a bit higher price.
The deterioration of natural resources leads to a lot of problems to human beings and others such as: respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, asthma attacks, nervous system damage, lung damage and various types of cancer, affecting the quality of life of living-beings. Going green is the only solution to these problems.
Techniques of green marketing
Green products are those products or services that reduce ill-effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. They are the eco-friendly organic products that are produced with the conservation of water and energy, reduction of liquid and solid waste, prevention of pollution and consumed fearlessly.
Green brand is a name or symbol or design assigned to an eco-product, harmless to the environment. This enables the customers to distinguish the green and non-green products. Socially responsible consumers and marketers give recognition to green branded products because of their eco-friendly nature.
This act enables consumers to know the contents of a green product, its manufacturer, the process of manufacture, post-use reversed logistics, prices, how to use, etc. Green label is a marketing tool for eco-friendly products that assist the consumers in selection of right products.
Green packaging which is the explicit phenomena in most instances has to do with suitable packaging that reduces environmental damage. Much of the pollution of air, water and soil can be avoided by using biodegradable packages
Green price is understood as a premium price for the green products. Most of the time, the green price is more because of the expenses on R&D and other processes that the company has to incur such as installation of new technology, machines, training people, waste management, pollution controls, innovative packaging, reversed logistics and so on. Some products may have low prices owing to the lowering of unwanted packaging cost.
This comprises of creating channel members considering the environmental protection and damages in logistics. If the intermediaries are rightly trained, they can create an impact on the green marketing.
Taking back used packages, wrappers, and even the used products from customers go a long way to preserve the environment. The marketers such as big bazaar give money back for plastic bottles, used products, etc brought back to them.
Green promotion happens when marketers select right mode of means and messages at the right time to reach out to the intended group of consumers. No promotion can be effective unless what is being propagated is not practiced in real sense.
Green advertising is an approach to making advertising messages that focus on the customer benefits and social concerns than that of products/brands benefits. Green advertisements largely influence the consumers’ buying behavior. Ottman, 1998 says, green communication fosters a positive image and coveys a business firm’s concern towards the environment and the public.
Measures of Green Marketing in India
To encourage the movement, the Ministry of Power and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency have come up with a Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) programme for big energy consumers. The government has identified 478 companies that together consume 75 per cent of industrial energy and given them targets to reduce energy consumption over a period of three years.
On the corporate side, the CII has initiated the ‘GreenCo’ rating for companies based on their environmental performance across nine parameters, including energy efficiency, water conservation, use of renewable energy and waste management. Experts say it is more advanced than the ISO 14000 certification.
A large number of companies in India adopt green measures to save the environment in the forms such as invention of green technologies, less use of scarce natural resources, reduced use of harmful materials, waste reduction, recycling of wastages, reuse of wastages, energy saving, green campaigns, etc.
Following are some of the activities in relation to going-green in India.
LED E60 and E90 series monitors with eco-friendly features such as 40 percent less energy consumption than the traditional LCD monitors, and minimum use of hazardous materials.
India’s first PVC free and eco-friendly notebook, 100 percent recyclable and toxin free.
Environment friendly LED monitors with its range of 50 and 30 series. No use of environmentally hazardous substances, such as mercury or lead.
In 2007, Voltas initiated the ‘Green’ range of air-conditioners, Its computer products and peripherals, kitchen appliances and other products, use about 20-30 percent less energy than the set standards.
Econavi home appliances, air conditioners & LCD screens use sensor and control technologies to minimise energy consumption, based on a family’s lifestyle.
Won the Greenpeace Award mainly because of its back take-back program in India. Known for launching models free of PVC, brominated flame retardants and antimony trioxide.
Launched wide range of eco-friendly desktops. Wipro has 17 e-waste collection centres in India. 12 Wipro campuses in the country have been certified as green buildings.
Eco-friendly tubeless tyres MRF ZSLK are made from unique silica-based rubber compounds and promises to offer fuel efficiency for vehicle owners, suitable for wet and dry braking.
Eco-friendly brand, ‘Concrete+’ uses fly ash (a hazardous industrial waste) to help conserve natural resources.
India’s first eco-friendly adhesive, Fevicol AC Duct King Eco Fresh, boasts of being an all-in-one adhesive.
Eco-fashion, a process of creating garments with environment friendly techniques and processes which are non-hazardous to the environment, uses organic cotton, bamboo jersey, viscose and linen.
India’s first pump manufacturing facility to receive the GreenCo rating. Plant in Dewas, was recognised as a ‘Green Company’ by CII’s GBC. Dewas plant has reduced specific energy consumption by 30%, water consumption by 40%.
Impact of Green Marketing
Researches show that consumers generally prefer eco-friendly products that produce positive environmental impact. If the green marketing is rightly implemented, following could be the results.
1. Growing awareness regarding environmental hazards
2. Healthy life to self, family and community
3. Complete customer satisfaction.
4. Cutting down cost by reducing waste
5. Developing great brands and brand loyalty
6. Increased sales and revenue
7. Tax benefits and loans from governments
8. Right disposal of wastages, avoidance of climatic changes
9. Incorporating environmental concerns in business activities
10. Minimum use of raw materials thus preserving natural resources
11. Introduction of Eco-friendly designs
12. Minimum pollution and hazards from packaging
13. Easy promotion of green products and brand position.
14. Developing a spiritual relationship between green products and customers.
Generally green marketing gets tremendous boost from environmental conscious consumers. But, it was found that the purchase decisions of consumers may not be governed by their environmental concerns if the green product does not appear to be superior, and cost-efficient.
Researches show that people have better attitude towards green products. But the market share is abnormally minimal, making it a niche activity.
Lack of trust of customers on the green companies is a bigger concern because most of the customers began to doubt the authenticity. Many business units use green marketing as cost cutting measures. Reducing packaging is considered as green marketing. Compliance with environmental regulations is treated as green marketing.
Numerous green products have flooded the markets and confusing consumers in deciding a right choice. Lack of long term planning by the marketers is another factor. The success depends on the involvement of different stakeholders of a business.
Green marketing is a strategy not to impress the people, but to create a positive mind to preserve the globe. People are generally concerned about ecological issues since the latter affect the human life in a greater way. Consumers are not hesitant to pay higher prices if the green measures are real and the green products are more worthy. Hence the business organizations have to adopt green marketing to gain more profits while preserving the environment and satisfying the customers’ needs fully.
Those companies which are committed to engaging green actions to protect the customers, employees and other stakeholders can avoid most of its business and social problems. The businesses that adopt green marketing practices will not only enhance their profitability but also can become permanently-friendly with the society and the government.
India has launched eco-labeling schemes connected to conservation of energy, recycling of paper, herbal agricultural products, nontoxic packaging materials, reduced use of plastic, bio electrical and electronic products. The companies out of necessity or pressure are adopting green measures to comply with government demands.
Green marketers will definitely sell better than their counterparts because green marketing has its own merits and is welcome by most of the consumers. However, the strategy will work effectively if the cost element is comparable and the green products can make a visible difference in its quality. Whether adopted voluntarily or compulsorily, green marketing has captured a place in the heart of consumers and marketers, and for its guaranteed benefits, it will stay forever.
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