Green Marketing and Ethical Issues
Green Marketing and Ethical Issues
The marketer need to know about what is the relevance of Social Marketing in order to protect the environment and to improve the quality of life and are concerned with issues that include conservation of natural resources, reducing environmental pollution, protecting endangered species, and control of land use. Many companies are finding that consumers are willing to pay more for a green product. The last three decades have seen a progressive increase in worldwide environmental consciousness. This has been driven by a number of factors from increased media coverage to rising evidence of environmental problems such as the depletion of the ozone layer, acidification of rivers and forest degradation, global warming, the rise of pressure group activity, tougher legislation and major industrial disasters. Concern has moved from the local scale to a national and increasingly global scale.
The rate of environmental degradation has intensified. The nineteenth century brought the first large scale pollution as companies geared themselves to produce goods as fast as possible, with virtual disregard for human or environmental well-being. Nations battled for industrial supremacy using raw materials and creating pollution at a staggering rate. As countries became economically stronger, competition also grew. More efficient production methods were employed, and few companies, if any, gave a thought to the impact they were having on their surroundings. With the increase in water pollution from the chemical works, and air pollution from the iron and steel industry, towns and cities began to pay the price for high industrial productivity.
Ass the 1980s progressed, it became increasingly clear that, although the starkest predictions of resource depletion and population explosion had failed to materialize, all was far from well with the planet. A number of published analyses of the environment showed that according to a wide range of indicators, the environment was coming under increasing stress. Concern among consumers and the electorate began to mount, with the inevitable consequence being that environmental issues moved from the fringes to the center of the business and political agenda.
The environment’s role in business is profoundly obvious, but easy to overlook. It provides every business with its inputs, and a destination for all its outputs. It also provides the business with the physical space within which its operations occur. For businesses dealing directly with environmental resources, such as agriculture, tourism or oil, the importance of the physical environment has always been apparent. Society in its present form and on its current trajectory of development, however, cannot be sustained indefinitely. The physical environment has limited resources and limited capacity to absorb pollution and waste. The underlying cause of society’s current unsustainability relates to the way in which economics and technology have come to dominate our thinking about business and the environment. Conventional marketing within industry is very much a product of this techno-economic perspective. This has created a ‘grey’ culture which is not sustainable and is therefore terminal. To transform this into a ‘green’ sustainable culture, there is a need to balance consideration of the economic and technical impacts and aspects of businesses with understanding of their social and physical implications.
It is now widely accepted that societies, economies, and the businesses within them need to find a more sustainable path to for future development. In the business world the vocabulary of management was suddenly expanded by the discussion of ‘green consumers’, ‘green markets’ and ‘green products’ and the practice of ‘environmental’ or ‘green marketing’. For majority of the companies improving environmental performance has, until recently, been a question of legislative compliance and occasional reactions to external events and pressures. It has only been companies in the front-line sectors such as oil, chemicals, power and cars that have gone beyond a reactive and tactical approach to green issues. However, by early 1990s a shift away from a technical-compliance oriented approach towards a more proactive green strategy orientation was noticed. Companies were increasingly pursuing competitive advantage and product differentiation by increasing investment in environmental marketing, green design and improving overall corporate eco-performance. In addition to these externally motivated changes, the realization is dawning within industry that sustainability will not be reached simply by demand-pull from the market and compliance-push from the regulators. The changes that are needed to safeguard the future of the environment and the economy must partly be driven from the business community, which means they must proactively integrate eco-performance into the strategies, systems and cultures of the organization.
Eg: Toyota has become quite successful with their hybrid cars.
The three R s of environmentalism are:
Green marketing refers to the development and distribution of ecologically-safe products. It refers to products and packages that have one or more of the following characteristics:
(1) Are less toxic
(2) Are more durable
(3) Contain reusable materials
(4) Are made of recyclable material. In short, these are products considered “environmentally responsible”.
In the early to mid 1960s created concern about the social responsibility of businesses and their impact on the natural environment and the health and welfare of the planet. This concern was heightened during the early 1970s in response to Limits to Growth and resulted in the emergence of both the ‘societal marketing concept’ and the ‘ecological marketing concept’. In response to the new green challenge that emerged during the early 1980s, these early concepts have amalgamated to create an environmental marketing concept. Green marketing is thus a form of socio-ecological marketing whereby the goods and services sold, and the marketing practices involved in their sale take into account the environmental ramifications of society as a whole. The marketing process essentially involves matching the controllable internal variables of the marketing mix with the demands of the marketing environment. Environmental marketing is no different, in principle, although the internal variables and external demands that must be reconciled are a little different.
Green marketing takes account of the wider relationship of the organization and its products to the surroundings. It is about a more aware, open, targeted and sensitive approach that integrates the strategic link between the company, the environment, and marketing, rather than being primarily concerned with tactical communications opportunities. The prime emphasis is on, developing relationships and satisfying separate Stakeholders needs in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The key stakeholders are customers, investors, parent company, directors, employees, the community, legislators, pressure groups, suppliers, and the media
Green marketing differs from its societal and ecological predecessors in it’s intertwining of ecological and social concerns, in the breadth of the ecological agenda that it tackles, and in its potential application across all types and sectors of business. Green marketing goes beyond societal marketing in four key ways:
It is an open-ended rather than a long-term perspective.
It focuses more strongly on the natural environment. It treats the environment as something which has an intrinsic value over and above its usefulness to society. It focuses on global concerns rather than those of particular societies.
The key elements of green marketing can be summarised as under:
A balanced approach to the social, technological, economic and physical aspects of businesses and societies. An emphasis on long term sustainable qualitative development rather than short-term unsustainable quantitative growth. A holistic approach aimed at reversing the reductionalist and fragmented approach of previous business theory and practice. A consideration of consumers as real human beings rather than as hypothetical ‘rational economic’entities. An emphasis on meeting the genuine needs of consumers, rather than on stimulating superficial desires. A recognition that consumers and society have multiple and sometimes conflicting wants and needs. A view of the company and all its activities as part of the ‘product’ that is consumed. A recognition that the large scale long distance nature of the current economy is not sustainable, and that in the future small and local will be beautiful. Embracing the concept of eco-performance which incorporates the non-market outputs of the company, with performance of the product during and after use and the environmental impact of companies which contribute to the creation and marketing of the product elsewhere in the supply chain. The pursuit of added socio-environmental value as well as added techno-economic value.
‘Green Advertising: Salvation or Oxymoron’, demonstrating that the concept is far more complex than the existing marketing literature suggests. Green is characterized in this study as a two dimensional concept with political and human dimensions. Banerjee et al (1995) in a study on multi dimensional analysis of environmental advertising suggests that environmental appeals are becoming increasingly common in advertising. The results of a content analysis designed to uncover the underlying structure of green advertising are presented. A majority of advertisers in the sample attempted to project a green corporate image rather than focusing on the environmental benefits of their product or service. Most of the studies focus on the communication aspect of green marketing and studies that cover the entire gamut of green marketing are woefully lacking and more so studies conducted in an Indian context
R.YUVARANI, M.Phil SCHOLAR, PERIYAR UNIVERSITY, SALEM-11
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