Advantages and disadvantages of green marketing
This analytical write-up assesses some of the advantages and disadvantages of green marketing. Certainly, there are many advantages of adopting green marketing practices. However, what about the disadvantages? Surely, there are some!
What is green marketing?
According to AMA – American Marketing Association (2022) green marketing refers to the development and marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe (i.e., designed to minimize negative effects on the physical environment or to improve its quality). However, this concept may also be used to describe efforts to produce, promote, package, and reclaim products in a manner that is sensitive or responsive to ecological concerns.
Cambridge Dictionary (2022) defines green marketing as selling a product or products of a particular company to consumers by emphasizing how they protect the environment.
It is important to note that green marketing is not just about recycling and using eco-friendly materials—it is also about how companies interact with their stakeholders. For example, giving discounts to people who use public transportation or allowing people to return items to stores for free are both considered green practices because they have less of an impact on the environment. Other examples of green marketing will clarify the concept further.
Examples of green marketing
A brief investigation across different industries will provide the readers with some good examples of green marketing. Indeed, some companies are very famous for green marketing practices. For instance, Ikea has sustainability at the core of its business as evident right from its supply chain to how it powers its stores with solar panels. IBM’s social responsibility and environmental stewardship has been part of its mission since the 1960s.
Other companies famous for green practices are Unilever, Panasonic, Allergan, Seventh Generation, Patagonia, New Belgium Brewing, Adobe, and Nike (Virgin, 2021). Likewise, many other companies such as Ford Motor Company, Disney, Johnson & Johnson, E-Bay, and Starbucks have already taken excellent green initiatives.
Advantages of green marketing
Environmental responsibility is a major concern for many businesses today. The primary goal of green marketing is to connect with consumers who are interested in products that are environmentally friendly. Companies can indeed attract new customers with green efforts (Indeed, 2022). Many consumers would love to know how products are manufactured and how using those products will impact on the natural environment.
Green marketing strategy can create an emotional connection between a company and potential customers. It can be used to promote brands while aligning with a social cause. It will also help them to be more memorable to customers while positively affecting their perception of the company’s image.
One of the key advantages of green marketing in competitive advantage. A company can use it to create a competitive advantage over its competitors by being the first to offer products or services that are better for the environment. It can also attract investors who are looking for socially responsible initiatives and stocks.
With green marketing practices, a company can increase employee satisfaction. Many employees feel proud and happy to work with a company that is environmentally friendly. This is very useful for long-term customer retention.
Using sustainable and environmentally friendly materials can sometimes lower the costs of operations. For instance, by using solar energy, saving water, and advertising sustainably, a company can reduce its monthly operating costs.
Disadvantages of green marketing
There are some disadvantages of green marketing that companies need to take note of. The most common problem is the ‘greenwashing’ of products and services. This is when companies make false claims about their products and services to make them seem environmentally friendly.
Greenwashing can be difficult to spot because it often looks like a legitimate company trying to do the right thing. That is why it is essential for customers to read the fine print on what a company is actually doing, not just what they say they are doing.
Another disadvantage of green marketing is that many customers will see green marketing as a mere publicity stunt. After all, if customers are willing to spend money on an eco-friendly product, they may be more likely to buy anything with an eco-friendly label attached on it, even if it is not genuinely environmentally friendly.
Some companies may spend more money on advertising their green products than they put into making them eco-friendly in the first place! This can lead to some consumers to think that these companies are just trying to take advantage of them and their environmental concerns without ever following through with any real plan or action.
Some green initiatives require the use of advanced technology thereby incurring huge investments in research and development. Certainly, small, and financially strapped companies may find it difficult to pursue. Moreover, many customers are not aware of green marketing, and may not pay a premium price for green products and services.
Thus, it is clear that there are some good advantages of green marketing. It can be a very successful marketing strategy for businesses that want to be on the forefront of the green revolution. However, companies are also aware that there are some challenges to adopting green practices.
Hope the article ‘Advantages and disadvantages of green marketing’ has been a useful read. You may also like reading Advantages and disadvantages of ecotourism.
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Last update: 17 January 2022
AMA (2022) Definitions of marketing, available at: https://www.ama.org/the-definition-of-marketing-what-is-marketing/ (accessed 21 January 2022)
Cambridge Dictionary (2022) Green marketing, available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/green-marketing (accessed 21 January 2022)
Indeed (2022) What is green marketing? Benefits and strategies, available at: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/green-marketing (accessed 20 January 2022)
Virgin (2021) 10 global companies that are environmentally friendly, available at: https://www.virgin.com/virgin-unite/latest/10-global-companies-that-are-environmentally-friendly (accessed 20 January 2022)
Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.