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WHY IS GREEN MARKETING CHOSEN BY MOST MARKETERS?
In India, around 25% of the consumers prefer environmental-friendly products, and around 28% may be considered healthy conscious. There fore, green marketers have diverse and fairly sizeable segments to cater to. The Surf Excel detergent which saves water (advertised with the message—"do bucket paani roz bachana") and the energy-saving LG consumers durables are examples of green marketing. We also have green buildings which are efficient in their use of energy, water and construction materials, and which reduce the impact on human health and the environment through better design, construction, operation, maintenance and waste disposal. In India, the green building movement, spearheaded by the Confederation of Indian industry (CII) - Godrej Green business Center, has gained tremendous impetus over the last few years. From 20,000 sq ft in 2003, India's green building footprint is now over 25 million sq ft.
Many companies have started realizing that they must behave in an environment-friendly fashion. They believe both in achieving environmental objectives as well as profit related objectives. The HSBC became the world's first bank to go carbon-neutral last year. Other examples include Coca-Cola, which has invested in various recycling activities. Walt Disney World in Florida, US, has an extensive waste management program and infrastructure in place.
Various regulations rare framed by the government to protect consumers and the society at large. The Indian government too has developed a framework of legislations to reduce the production of harmful goods and by products. These reduce the industry's production and consumers' consumption of harmful goods, including those detrimental to the environment; for example, the ban of plastic bags in Mumbai, prohibition of smoking in public areas, etc.
Many companies take up green marketing to maintain their competitive edge. The green marketing initiatives by niche companies such as Body Shop and Green & Black have prompted many mainline competitors to follow suit.
Reduction of harmful waste may lead to substantial cost savings. Sometimes, many firms develop symbiotic relationship whereby the waste generated by one company is used by another as a cost-effective raw material. For example, the fly ash generated by thermal power plants, which would otherwise contributed to a gigantic quantum of solid waste, is used to manufacture fly ash bricks for construction purposes.
BENEFITS OF GREEN MARKETING
Today's consumers are becoming more and more conscious about the environment and are also becoming socially responsible. Therefore, more companies are responsible to consumers' aspirations for environmentally less damaging or neutral products. Many companies want to have an early-mover advantage as they have to eventually move towards becoming green. Some of the advantages of green marketing are,
- It ensures sustained long-term growth along with profitability.
- It saves money in the long run, thought initially the cost is more.
- It helps companies market their products and services keeping the environment aspects in mind. It helps in accessing the new markets and enjoying competitive advantage.
- Most of the employees also feel proud and responsible to be working for an environmentally responsible company.
PROBLEMS OF GREEN MARKETING
Many organizations want to turn green, as an increasing number of consumers' ant to associate themselves with environmental-friendly products. Alongside, one also witnesses confusion among the consumers regarding the products. In particular, one often finds distrust regarding the credibility of green products. Therefore, to ensure consumer confidence, marketers of green products need to be much more transparent, and refrain from breaching any law or standards relating to products or business practices.
PATHS TO GREENNESS
Green marketing involves focusing on promoting the consumption of green products. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the companies to adopt creativity and insight, and be committed to the development of environment-friendly products. This will help the society in the long run. Companies which embark on green marketing should adopt the following principles in their path towards greenness.
- Adopt new technology/ Process or modify existing technology/ Process so as to reduce environmental impact.
- Establish a management control system that will lead to adherence of stringent environmental safety norms.
- Explore possibilities of recycling of the used products so that it can be used to offer similar or other benefits with less wastage.
- Using more environment-friendly raw materials at the production stage itself.