Green Marketing: A Conceptual Framework and Suggestions for Industrial Services Marketing

Green Marketing: A Conceptual Framework and Suggestions for Industrial Services Marketing

Ceren Altuntaş Vural (Yaşar University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6635-1.ch005
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Due to the negative impact of globalized production and consumption on the natural environment, businesses keep facing increased pressure to eliminate their harmful processes and transform into environmentally conscious organizations. Marketing as a business function having a high interaction rate with customers and other stakeholders receives its share from this wave. Every day, more organizations become engaged in green marketing practices either by complying with laws and regulations or seizing proactive environmental marketing strategies. This chapter aims to propose a conceptual framework for green marketing by reviewing the existing green marketing and sustainable marketing literature. In addition to that, considering the less developed literature in Business-to-Business (B2B) green marketing, the chapter uses previous strategic frameworks for suggesting green marketing activities for industrial services. Logistics is selected as a specific field for the proposition of the examples. The chapter concludes with implications and further research directions.
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Together with the increasing pressure caused by highly globalized production and consumption on the natural environment, demand for business practices that acknowledge this negative impact and that make an effort to eliminate it is accelerating. This demand does not stem from the markets primarily; actually it is stimulated by the awareness raised through legislation initiatives imposed by regulatory bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These regulations caused organizations to take measures some of which were only “compliance marketing (Peattie & Crane, 2005)” or green washing. However, within time and together with the enlarged awareness, inclusion of an environmental concern to manufacturing, purchasing, distribution and also marketing became inevitable.

This concern evolved within time and scope. The last era of environmental movement in marketing is named as sustainable marketing era (Peattie, 2001; Hunt, 2011). This age of the movement integrates green marketing’s scope with corporate social responsibility (CSR) or societal marketing. The three pillars of sustainable development’s triple bottomline, which are the economy, the society and the environment, are frequently mentioned within holistic green marketing strategy. Throughout this evolution period, though, scholars state that there is no single definition for green marketing that is agreed upon by all parties indicating that the topic is still open for conceptualization efforts.

One of the aims of this chapter is to provide a conceptual framework for sustainable marketing as an umbrella term covering green marketing. This effort is derived from the triple bottomline approach and is followed by a detailed review of the green marketing literature combined with green marketing strategy and practice suggestions.

Green marketing is defined as “the holistic management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying the needs of customers and society, in a profitable and sustainable way” (Peattie & Charter, 2003: 727). The definition integrates the concern for the physical environment into one of the definitions of the marketing concept. This concern consequently results in the incorporation of physical environment to “marketing processes” (Kotler & Armstrong, 2013). Organizations need to think green when analyzing marketing opportunities and should consider the environmental factors when selecting target markets. Marketing mix components should be developed according to the environmental goals of the organization and the environmental performance should be an indicator while executing the marketing program.

Despite the vast amount of research on green marketing in consumer markets, industrial exchanges are less studied in the literature. Actually they are generally located under supply chain management literature as the industrial exchanges take place within supply chains (Chan, He & Wang, 2012). In addition, they mainly focus on the buyer perspective and consequently green purchasing or green supply issues. Green supply has two different subdimensions. The first one mainly deals with green supplier management where the purchasing organization tries to assess and improve the environmental capabilities and performance of its suppliers. The second one deals with the green products where the focus is on the products which are being purchased. Recycling, reducing waste, elimination of hazardous destruction processes are all examples of this type of green supply (Bowen, Cousins, Lamming & Faruk, 2001; Rao & Holt, 2005).

Rather than taking a green supply perspective, the second aim of this chapter is to make an attempt to focus on green industrial marketing strategies, especially for industrial services. By taking the logistics industry as an exemplary field, the study suggests a path for green marketing activities at three strategic levels. Considering the heavy burden that the logistics industry - especially the transportation part (Wu & Dunn, 1995) - creates on the environment, green industrial marketing strategies can provide a valuable competitive advantage for the marketers operating in this industry and create value for all stakeholders that are impacted by the activities of logistics industry.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainable Marketing: Marketing that carries goals for all three pillars of environment, society and economy.

Triple Bottomline: The three main pillars that constitute the concept of sustainability: environment, society and economy.

Industrial Services: Services that are traded between organizations and not for final consumption but for the facilitation of final goods or services.

Environment: The physical and social surrounding that people live inside.

Logistics: The creation, management and control of physical, financial and information connections between nodes and links that goods or services travel from raw material stage to the final consumption stage or right backwards.

Green Logistics: Environmentally sound and sensitive applications of logistics operations.

Industrial marketing: Creation, management and control of exchanges between organizations.

Logistics Service Providers: Service companies that offer all types of logistics services to other organizations.

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