Green Marketing: A New Prospect in the Cosmetics Industry

Green Marketing: A New Prospect in the Cosmetics Industry

Nur Suhaili Ramli (University of York, UK)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2075-7.ch007


This chapter proposes an important study of the cosmetics industry in relation to green marketing and sustainability concerns from the historical context and its evolution to the present day. The aim of this chapter is to explain the significant impact of green marketing on the cosmetics industry as a new future prospect that benefits all parties and what can be learned from history. This chapter intends to address the existence of sustainability concepts through history, which have become an interesting phenomenon in the present day. The aspects to be discussed include (1) new prospects and opportunities from green marketing for the cosmetics industry; (2) the evolution of the cosmetics industry; and (3) green marketing and green concepts in the cosmetics industry.
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Currently, concern for the environment is a global issue. This has been observed in various platforms, including consumer demand, lifestyle polls, political and activist campaigns, the media, and through marketing strategies and product offers. However, the academic literature does not reflect this popular movement in terms of its historical context and evolution. Previously, sustainability or green concepts were not popular, with the exception of certain circumstances—for example, during the Second World War when some raw materials were rationed. However, industry, resources, and awareness are different in the present day. Currently, green marketing or sustainability is a new business direction that offers new prospects in the cosmetics industry. This is not limited solely to global brands such as L’Oreal, P&G, and Avon, but also attracts premium brands like Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and Clinique and encourages the success of new cosmetics brands like Lush, The Body Shop, Aveeno, Natura, and others. In relation to the past, the extent to which mainstream brands such as Avon, Estee Lauder, Maybelline, L’Oreal, and others have learned from history is a topic of debate, influencing their sustainable decisions in the present day.

Further, many cosmetics companies must react to changing customer needs, new regulations, and a new social preference, which reflects increasing concerns regarding the socioenvironmental impacts of business. According to Shrivastava (1994), shifting customer needs and trends towards green marketing will demand fundamental changes to the management paradigm, which underpins marketing and other business functions. This chapter aims to compare current and former studies of green marketing in the cosmetics industry, thereby examining the evolution of the green agenda. There is historical evidence from global brands in the world crises period that sustainable concepts in marketing were discovered.


To date, no definition has been provided for green marketing. This is because it refers not only to a product’s specific ingredients, but also to a broad range of production factors—for example, packaging, advertising, distribution, people, and the organisation as whole. Therefore, defining green marketing is neither easy nor straightforward. However, Peattie and Charter (2003) proposed that identifying, anticipating, and satisfying the needs of consumers and society in a profitable and sustainable way is through holistic management process; in other words, the need to consider environmental issues within the whole organisation, rather than only the marketing department. Furthermore, green marketing is a long-term branding issue and not a tactical concern; however, developing countries had complained that the West (particularly in Europe) was using these issues to place anticompetitive constraint on emerging economies (Johri & Sahasakmontri, 1998).

Green marketing in the cosmetics industry is emerging and gathering importance. Moreover, its history can be traced back to the wave of environmental concern in the 1970s, which emphasised the concept of ‘ecological marketing’ (Hennison & Kinnear, 1976). However, the serious discussion on sustainability in marketing and its physical implications was raised in the 1990s (Van Dam & Apeldoorn, 1996, Obermiller, 1995). In addition, there are factors that affect consumers in terms of green purchasing behaviour (Kaufmann, Panni & Orphanidou, 2012), thereby raising the opportunity for green marketing in the cosmetics industry where there is an industrial commitment to green and sustainable chemistry using renewable materials and developing ecofriendly processes and ingredients in cosmetics (Philippe, Didillon & Gilbert, 2012). These can be observed through the transitions in the cosmetics trend alongside the evolution of cosmetics products by gigantic brands such as L’Oréal, Estee Lauder, Avon, and others between 1990s and the present. During this period, anti-aging products, whitening products, blemish base creams (BB creams), beauty serum, and antiwrinkle products have become phenomenal in the industry.

There are several issues accompanying this trend, and there is an encouraging increase in the literature on green marketing in the cosmetics industry. However, two issues to be discussed in this chapter include (1) the relevance of green marketing in the cosmetics industry; and (2) consumers’ behaviour and awareness when buying cosmetics products.

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