Creating Value From Garbage: A Marketing and Circular Economy Strategy for Sustainability

Creating Value From Garbage: A Marketing and Circular Economy Strategy for Sustainability

Cristina Calvo-Porral (University of La Coruña, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4552-2.ch005
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We live on a finite planet with scarce resources, which entails major challenges such as the depletion of natural resources, the ecological footprint, and climate change. However, in the continued growth of global economy, the majority of companies' strategies and business models move away from sustainability while facing a big paradox: on one side, companies focus on economic development encouraging consumption, but on the other side, companies could play a key role in environmental issues, enhancing more sustainable consumption patterns. In this context, some companies have adopted marketing strategies that focus on turning garbage into value, as a way to tackle one of the major environmental issues. In this chapter, some of these companies and their marketing strategies are examined through a multiple case analysis. The main purpose of this chapter is to show that some companies are addressing one major environmental issue by turning garbage into value.
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The Sustainable Marketing Orientation

The consumption of natural resources has been increasing much faster than population, with environmental consequences such as climate change or pollution. In this context, the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) defines development as sustainable if it “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Similarly, the concept of sustainable marketing orientation recognizes that nowadays consumption patterns are unsustainable; thus, requiring changes in consumer behavior (United Nations Environment Programme et al. 2005). Therefore, the sustainable marketing orientation proposes the offering of products and services marketed in a responsible way that does not adversely impact upon environment sustainability. Interestingly, this marketing orientation differs from the traditional market orientation that called for maximizing company profits through efficient management of resources and competitive marketing responsive to customer needs (Mitchell et al., 2010).

Likewise, some authors in the marketing area also defined the sustainable marketing orientation. For example, Hart (1995) conceptualized the sustainable marketing orientation as characterized by long-term marketing strategies that aim to meet market expectations while being environmentally responsible of natural resources. Other authors, such as Kilbourne (1998) highlighted that the sustainable marketing orientation emerged as an alternative to earlier managerial strategies, in order to focus on ecological sustainability rather than on economic efficiency. Accordingly, the sustainable marketing orientation develops actions and strategies so that only products and services that are considered as “needs” are commercialized and marketed, whereas those items considered as “wants” are not (Schor, 1998), encouraging consumers to develop a more resource-efficient way of consumption (Connolly & Prothero, 2003).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Reduce Principle: Supports the minimization of the amount of materials, energy and waste generated in the economic system through the increase of efficiency in production and consumption.

Garbage: What is discarded or unwanted by individuals, implicating uselessness.

Reuse Principle: Supports that products or components that are not wasted are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived.

Sustainable Marketing: The marketing orientation that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Green Products: Products and services that either conserve resources or that reduce waste.

Circular Economy: Provides an alternative model of consumption, based on the creation of closed production systems where resources are reused and kept in a “ loop of production ” and usage, allowing the creation of value for a longer period of time.

Recycle Principle: Refers to any recovery operation through which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or for other purposes.

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