Why Do Companies Engage in Green Marketing?: Alternative Green Marketing Strategies and the Motivations for the Green Marketing Approach

Why Do Companies Engage in Green Marketing?: Alternative Green Marketing Strategies and the Motivations for the Green Marketing Approach

Özge Kirezli (Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey) and Melis Kaytaz Yiğit (University of Marmara, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2331-4.ch007
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In recent years, consumers and the business world have deemed environmental issues to be more important, and green marketing has become a competitive advantage involved in corporate strategies. This chapter aims to study the concept of green marketing in the business world. First, according to literature, evolving green marketing definitions are described in detail, and the importance of green marketing approach it assessed. Then, since green marketing approach must be integrated with corporate strategies, four green marketing strategic models are presented and discussed. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the implications for green marketing of motivating factors such as pressure from consumers, NGOs and environmental organizations, legislative authorities, cost and profit considerations and competition between companies.
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The business world is experiencing a paradigm shift that requires new strategies and approaches to deal with competition and the changing needs of consumers who are becoming more conscious all the time. Companies have acknowledged that the only way to retain a positive position in consumers’ minds is to enhance their image in areas that they appreciate. This is the basic explanation of modern business’s focus on sustainability, social responsibility and green practices. The market system made it necessary for businesses to involve nature in their business plans due to society’s perception of the potential threat of its depletion.

Western societies began to perceive the harmful and devastating effects of industrialization and development in the early 1960s (Ghoshal, 2005). As Apel (1980) noted industrial revolution, our scientific and technological civilization, has presented all nations, races, and cultures, regardless of their group-specific, culturally relative moral traditions, with a common ethical problem, the sustainability of nature. For the first time in the history of the mankind, human beings are faced with the task of accepting collective responsibility for the consequences of their actions on a world-wide scale. This is made more specific in the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change’s study of irreversible processes in the world caused by pollution, unplanned and unsustainable production and consumption systems. On the other hand, the amount of greenhouse gasses rose by 70% between 1970 and 2004, and global temperatures have risen by 0.76°C (1.36°F) since the 1850s (Vorholz, 2009). Environmental consciousness, therefore, arose first as a response to these problems respectively in industrial and developed societies. The idea of sustainability, which lies at the core of green marketing, dates back more than forty years, to the new mandate adopted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in 1969. Sustainability was also a key theme of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm (IUCN Report, 2006). The concept was intended to suggest that it was possible to achieve economic growth and industrialization without environmental damage. Since then, this idea has been accepted and appreciated by industry, consumers and NGOs. However, translating this concern into action to protect the environment and integrating it with the principles of marketing were ideas that emerged in the 1970s (Peattie, 2001).

The term green marketing describes a business’s efforts to design, promote, price and distribute products that will not harm the environment (Pride and Ferrell, 1993). Clearly, there are a wide variety of considerations to be addressed by companies that choose to embrace a green marketing agenda. Among them are concerns such as: developing offerings that conserve energy and other natural resources in their production process (Porter, 1991), creating advertisements and other promotional messages that accurately reflect the company’s concern for the environment (Kangun et al., 1991), setting prices for green products that balance consumers’ sensitivity to cost against their willingness to pay more for environmental safety (Chase, 1991; Jay 1990), reducing pollutants and conserving resources in the transportation of products to market (Bohlen et al., 1993) and a host of other marketing decisions.

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