Green marketing is a very popular term in recent times and is increasingly present in the communication strategies of companies. However, it has long been known that the “throwaway mentality” of consumers has a negative impact on the environment, as well as on working conditions in producing countries. Many people have become aware of the magnitude of these problems in recent years, either through educational campaigns by NGOs or through the dissemination of images on social networks or the media, which has gradually led to a change of focus in consumption habits. And this trend has intensified due to an increase in awareness of this type of aspect by society during the covid-19 crisis.

Today, various studies carried out have shown that more and more people are willing to make conscious consumption and pay a little more for products or services that contribute to caring for the environment, whether through small or large actions, which allows them to keep a clear conscience. This is where ecological marketing comes into play, a tool that allows companies to communicate sustainable production strategies and activities that are respectful of the environment in order to realize how to get to know consumers, get new customers or retain customers. they already have in the long run.

But really… What is green marketing? Are all the companies that proclaim themselves “green” really ecological? What does it really mean for a company to apply this type of strategy of respect for the environment?

What is green marketing?

Green marketing, also known as green marketing, ecological marketing, sustainable marketing or eco marketing, is according to the American Marketing Association (AMA), “the development and marketing of products designed to minimize negative effects on the environment, or to improve its quality. Likewise, they refer to this concept as the “efforts that organizations make to produce, promote, package and claim products in a sensitive or responsible way with respect to ecological concerns”. This definition may sound a bit abstract, but in our opinion it is quite close to the current concept of green marketing and its characteristics, which is also intrinsically linked to the context of social marketing.

We do not understand this type of strategy only as pure marketing, which is why we would like to give our own definition of green marketing, which we could summarize as “a global strategy in which companies include among their values respect and improvement of the environment, which allows them to obtain competitive advantages, become a more valued and appreciated brand and, therefore, generate a change in consumer perception of the brand”.

We firmly believe that although green marketing is almost a must for many brands, it should not remain just a facade or empty words, but should produce a profound transformation within the brand. A transformation based on a global strategy that, taking advantage of the environment, facilitates the transmission of a message consistent with the company’s own philosophy and its values. And it is important not to forget that the market quickly recognizes inconsistencies since the user is increasingly difficult to deceive, so it is not worth everything just to show yourself as a “green” brand.

History of green marketing

The history of green marketing dates back to the mid-1970s, when the American Marketing Association held the first workshop on “Environmental Marketing” in 1975. But the truth is that it wasn’t until the late 1980s and early from the 90s when this concept began to take hold. However, it was at that time when environmental problems began to have more relevance and in this way, a great social conscience began to appear to care more for the environment, leading to an important change of attitude in society. This became an excellent opportunity that brands did not hesitate to take advantage of to become the agents of change that the world was demanding.

It is evidence that for a few years the market has been showing a clear trend towards everything sustainable, especially due to the growing concern of the new generations about climate change. And it is that we should not think that it is a fashion, on the contrary, it is the future and an obligation for many companies. This is the only way to understand why more and more companies are announcing a commitment to reduce their impact on the environment, anticipating the future with their green marketing strategies.

Characteristics of green marketing: data that shows what people are currently considering.

It does not escape anyone that in recent times, more and more customers are looking for organic products. Ecology is fashionable. From vegan products, through recycled packaging or biodegradable materials, interest in products or services of this type has been increasing. As an example of this, we can refer to a recent global study by the Nielsen agency that produced revealing data: more than 80% of those surveyed stated that companies should help improve the environment.

In addition, all of them admitted that they would be willing to support brands that show a true commitment with green or social marketing campaigns, with Corporate Social Responsibility actions, providing employee volunteers that take care of the environment, etc. The numbers speak for themselves. And, for example, 6 years ago, in 2014, sales of sustainable products generated approximately 97 billion euros and are expected to reach 150 billion by 2021.

In this context, the figure of green marketing, which is not only limited to promoting sustainable products or services, but also promotes the implication of changes in the core and the business model of the brand, is increasingly important. In essence, it is about adopting a different vision of marketing, considering the global consequences that the activity of companies has on environmental degradation, satisfying customer needs just as well but generating minimal damage to the environment.

The greening of products is the main influence that climate change is having on the advertising market. The truth is that advertising has always been flexible to the challenges of today, which is why this industry has been able to evolve with the times. There is no doubt that we are and will be the first generation in the history of modern advertising that has the obligation to integrate climate change into green marketing and advertising strategies. Faced with this situation, brands need to realize that if they want to have a future, they will have to start taking sustainable measures from within. Green marketing strategies are beginning to focus on the consumers of the future and their needs, considering sustainability as the heart of the identity and communication of companies.

Currently, there are several initiatives for the environment with which to develop eco marketing strategies: eliminate aggressive raw materials with the environment and reduce waste, promote sustainable use, support the environmental cause, participate and associate with environmental activities, offer products with natural certificates or also be an example in the development of social actions. These initiatives will be fundamental for companies of today and of the future, since it is important not to forget that according to the Natural Marketing Institute, almost 60% of consumers already consider the environmental impact when they decide to buy a good or service, affirming that the most it is probable that, other things being equal, they will end up buying from socially responsible companies.

Featured Image by Margot RICHARD on Unsplash

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