Anatomy of Green Marketing

Anatomy of Green Marketing

Elif Yolbulan Okan (Yeditepe University, Turkey) and Neva Yalman (Yeditepe University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5880-6.ch006
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There has been much discussion since the late 1980s concerning “green” issues. Society is becoming increasingly concerned with the rapid depletion of the world's resources and the increasing rate that the environment is being polluted by our activities. Since environmental improvement and competitiveness are defined as the new paradigm for the world economy, green marketing has been one of the most popular topics in the business arena. This chapter aims to examine this concept from several different perspectives. The first section summarizes the evolution of the green marketing concept with the help of theoretical underpinnings. The criticisms regarding green marketing are also discussed. The second section investigates green consumer behavior. In order to position green product offerings, companies need to understand the characteristics and buying patterns of different segments of the green consumer. This section helps to identify the Turkish green consumer. The language and appeals used in environmental communication are very important in changing attitudes. Thus, the third section focuses on the effectiveness of green messages. In the last part of the chapter, the Gezi Park protests from Turkey are examined as an important case with political, economic, social and international impacts as well as its triggering effect of leading to mindful consumption. This chapter explores existing literature on an interest provoking subject--green marketing--as well as integrating theoretical concepts with a recent social event from an emerging market with a case study approach.
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Business strategies in the past have been mostly based on the assumption of infinite resources and zero environmental impact. However, since the late 1980s, environmental issues like global warming, depletion of ozone layer, soil degradation, increased air and water pollution, reduction in the availability of fresh water and increased depletion of natural and physical resources such as oil have gained importance all around the world. This environmental wakening forced companies to make drastic changes in their business strategies including marketing strategies (Kotler, 2011). Despite the fact that corporate ethical code of 21st century is stated as being green (Boztepe, 2012), generally ecological issues have been regarded as part of short term business tactics in order to attract attention and be after a fashion. Grant (2012) referred to green marketing as the tip of the iceberg. Corporations, governments, politicians and public interest to the issue is not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is smart too. The move to green, ethical and responsible issues should be taken into consideration as approaches far beyond marketing decisions. Such as, sustainability which is a bridge between businesses and environmental concerns is more than just an internal reform.

Green marketing has been considered as an asset of managerial tactics and called as “green” marketing with a little “g”; however it is definitely becoming a norm rather than a just fad and should be called “Green” with a large “G” implying an emerging dominant social paradigm (Dobson, 1990; Mishra & Sharma, 2012). Although methodological support was lacking, Dunlap and Liere (1978) discussed the environmental debate as one of the paradigms rather than practices and named as “new environmental paradigm”. Although the debate on different levels of green marketing or “shades of green marketing” has been discussed by many scholars (Killbourne, 2004; Banerjee, 1995), the dominant social paradigm argument is used to support the development of green marketing from purely managerial concerns towards being the greater social good (Cox, 2008).

Green marketing is generally associated with the promotion and advertising of recyclable, refillable or ozone friendly products. However green marketing needs to be examined from a holistic view. According to this holistic view companies develop products not only to address the consumer needs, but also to protect the long term interests and welfare of the society at large (Tiwari et al., 2011). This perspective needs to be considered together with sustainability concept. Sustainability is regarded as an idea focused on that both environmental and ethical aims are not conflicting with current economic prosperity (Grant, 2012). Kotler (2011) addressed to World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) and stated that sustainability deals with the question whether this generation can leave future generations with the same or larger basket of resources than today. Moreover to involve in sustainable business managers need to make decisions not just based upon financial considerations, but also based on the social and environmental impact (Grant, 2010).

Thus, in this chapter, green consumerism leading to ethical consumerism which finally leads to sustainable marketing will be discussed from both micro and macro points of view. Besides theoretical background, green consumerism including consumers’ attitudes, motivations and behavior towards green products will be examined. Moreover challenges in green advertising will be discussed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Green Marketing: Is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe.

Green Advertising: Is a specific type of advertising that aims to promote environmentally friendly products.

Green Consumer: Is the person who is supportive of environmental causes and prefers green product.

Green Wash: Is a concept used to define the form of marketing messages in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization's products, aims and/or policies are environmentally friendly.

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