Green Marketing Strategy: A Pedagogical View

Green Marketing Strategy: A Pedagogical View

A F Wazir Ahmad (University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh (ULAB), Bangladesh) and Mohammad Fateh Ali Khan Panni (City University, Bangladesh)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5880-6.ch005
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Within the campus of business ethics and social responsibility, green marketing strategy has become a much discussed issue in today's academic world as well as in the profession. Though corporate greening has gained a widespread recognition, different studies have found the concept still facing much confusion especially on norms of ideal green marketing practices. As a consequence, many organizations which are professing green marketing are not profound about it. Among those firms some are partially involved while some are not yet convinced to adopt the green marketing strategy mostly because they do not find it worthwhile regarding revenue and profit. In academia, there are considerable amount of literature providing scattered individual insights from different perspectives. A chapter synthesizing these literatures can be helpful for both academics and marketing practitioners. This chapter attempts to review the literature to understand the origin and evolution of green marketing and green marketing strategy with all its major fundamental dimensions. Based on the existing mainstream literature, the chapter also reveals the green marketing strategy from the strategic consumer behavioral perspective. Furthermore, it summarizes the key success factors behind green marketing, its impact on the organizational performance as well as recommendations for successful implementations. The chapter is a synthesis of the green marketing philosophy and green marketing strategy that might serve as an extensive reference material to both the researchers and marketing practitioners in conducting interesting future research in the field as well as in formulating and adopting appropriate green marketing strategies.
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Are we familiar with the terms like ‘cost effective’ and ‘eco friendly’? More and more marketers are tagging these terms with their offerings including ‘Phosphate Free’, ’Recyclable’, ’Refillable’, ’Ozone Friendly’, and ‘Environmentally Friendly’. These all are initiated by the modern marketing communication (MC) approach lately named as green marketing. The revolution seen in information technology created an intensified media attention, and extreme coverage in less than a minute over issues that cause environmental damage or destruction. This ultimately raised the level of awareness about environmental problems under the influence of reports on various environmental disasters, created interest and pressure groups focused on environmental issues and promoted stricter legislation on national and international level.

As a result, the environmental concern became the most powerful driving force both in general society and in managing business processes. Marketing, as a discipline, runs parallel to socio-economic development, reflecting the existing socio-economic relations. As ecological orientation and sustainable development is becoming an indispensable part of corporate social responsibility, marketing, therefore, in both theory and practice, is guided by the same ‘save the planet’ concern. Gradually over the last four decades, environmental issues and sustainable development have evolved from marginal issues to a central theme of deliberation and research (Ham, 2011).

Green marketing, which conceptually belongs to social responsible marketing, has emerged in the context of growing environmental awareness across all levels of society and of the rise of the segment of green consumers (Ham, 2011). The term Green Marketing started appearing in the late 1980s and early 1990s, staring in Europe in the early 1980s when certain products were found to be harmful to the environment and society as a whole. As a consequence, new types of products were created, termed “Green product” that would cause less damage to the environment (Singh, 2012).

Green marketing, though not yet well developed, is a vast topic, having important implications for business strategy to public policy. Generally terms like Phosphate Free, Recyclable, Refillable, Ozone Friendly, and Environmentally Friendly are some of the things consumers most often associate with green marketing. Successful green marketers no longer view consumers as people with appetite for material goods but as human beings concerned about the condition of the world around them. The marketing of successfully established green products also creates non green value to consumers. The five desirable benefits commonly associated with green products are: efficiency and cost effectiveness; health and safety; performance; symbolism and status; and convenience (Singh, & Pandey, 2012).

This chapter discusses the fundamental issues of environmentally oriented marketing communication and aims to explain the underlying concepts and assumptions as well as major challenges that the communication faces. This chapter begins with discussions of issues related with promoting products by claims about the environmental attributes of it or about the firms that manufactures and/or sells them. Then it discusses the product and pricing issues in green marketing. Inferring on multiple literatures, it provides answer to the question -what needs to be greened (product, system or how firm should think about information disclosure strategies). Embedding green marketing in business strategy and communication process is the main focus of this chapter. Based on the existing major literatures the chapter also reveals the green marketing strategy from the strategic consumer behavioral perspective. It summarizes the key success factors behind green marketing; its impact on the organizational performance as well as provides few tips for the success. This chapter concludes with discussions over managerial implication and scope of future research is this area.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Shades of Green: Differentiating green firms into sub categories depending on their degree of orientation towards environmental concern (greenness) and successful incorporation of those into the marketing mix. There are four widely recognized types (shades) of greenness.

Green Marketing Mix: The traditional marketing mix (4Ps of Marketing) as are re conceptualized with new environmental concern and other dimensions bundled into its ingredients. It deals with environ friendly (green) product, price, promotion and place.

Green Marketing Strategy: Firms marketing related strategies shaped up by green management practices and green objectives. It is often boosted by the proactive environmental strategy. Although from conventional point of view it has been argued that green management imposes considerable costs, today it is widely accepted that a proactive environmental strategy may bring considerable profit.

Levels of Going Green: Dividing green firms into subgroups depending on the magnitude of firm greening. The three traditional levels are product level, value addition processes and management systems. There are four recognized criteria of going green -product, packaging, practice and promotion.

Green Wash: Misleading the consumer and the public as a whole about the environmental performance of products or concealing the real purpose behind the visible environmental efforts.

Green Marketing: Green marketing is the marketing of environmentally safe products and services. It incorporates product modification, changes to the production process, packaging, and advertising. In describing the same concept environmental marketing or ecological marketing are frequently used.

Green Consumers: Generally it means consumers with concern for environment but depending the consumers' varying degrees of environmental concern, marketers segment the market into different shades of green. It is possible to change the customer class by extensive communication and motivation.

Environmental Consumerism: Consumers are becoming conscious about the environmental gradually and the adverse affects of consumption behavior onto it. It is the ultimate driving force of the industry shaking up affecting from production process to changes in environmental protection laws.

Social Responsibility: Perceived responsibility (of institutions) towards society or social problems. Most of the time it is complementary with the environmental responsibility.

Eco Friendly: Products, services, and operations considered to be safe for the environment. It may be a huge production system of a oil mine or just the printing policy that is concern for the trees and pollution.

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