What is Green Marketing? Definition, Challenges, Importance

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What is Green Marketing?

Green marketing can be defined as, All activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchange intended to satisfy human needs or wants such that satisfying of these needs and wants occur with minimal detrimental input on the national environment.

Green marketing refers to the marketing of products and services considered environmental – friendly that make their marketers environmentally responsible. The advent of green marketing was due to consumer demands.

Green Marketing Definition

Green marketing is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe. – American Marketing Association

Business Dictionary defines green marketing as promotional activities aimed at taking advantage of changing consumer attitude towards a brand. These changes are increasingly being influenced by a firm’s policies and practices that affect the quality of the environment and reflect the level of its concern for the community.

It can also be seen as the promotion of environmentally safe or beneficial products.

Evolution and Need of Green Marketing

The American Marketing Association (AMA) held the first workshop on ecological marketing in 1975. In 1980 green marketing came into existence for the first time.

It incorporates several activities such as product modification, changes to production processes, and packaging, advertising strategies and also increases awareness on compliance marketing amongst industries.

The green marketing has evolved over a period of time. The evolution of green marketing has three phases.

  • First phase was termed as “Ecological” green marketing, and during this period all marketing activities were concerned to help environment problems and provide remedies for environmental problems.

  • Second phase was “Environmental” green marketing and the focus shifted on clean technology that involved designing of innovative new products, which take care of pollution and waste issues.

  • Third phase was “Sustainable” green marketing. It came into prominence in the late 1990s and early 2000.

Need of Green Marketing

  1. Anthropological View
  2. Educating your Customers
  3. Genuine and Transparent
  4. Re-assure the Buyer
  5. Consider Pricing
  6. Giving your Customers an Opportunity to Participate

Anthropological View

Issues like global warming and depletion of ozone umbrella are the main for the healthy survival. Every person, rich or poor, would be interested in quality life full of health and vigour and so would the corporate class.

Educating your Customers

It is not just a matter of letting people know you are doing whatever you are doing to protect the environment, but also a matter of letting them know why it matters.

Otherwise, for a significant portion of your target market, it’s a case of “So what?” and your green marketing campaign goes nowhere.

Genuine and Transparent

You are actually doing what you claim to be doing in your green marketing campaign and the rest of your business policies are consistent with whatever you are doing that’s environmental-friendly.

Both these conditions have to be met for your business to establish the kind of environmental credentials that will allow a green marketing campaign to succeed.

Re-assure the Buyer

Consumers must be made to believe that the product performs the job it’s supposed to do-they would not forego product quality in the name of the environment.

Consider Pricing

If you are charging a premium for your product and many environmentally preferable products cost more due to economies of scale and use of higher-quality ingredients, make sure those consumers can afford the premium and feel it’s worth it.

Giving your Customers an Opportunity to Participate

Means personalizing the benefits of your environmental-friendly actions, normally through letting the customer take part in positive environmental action.

Green Products and Their Characteristics

The products which are manufactured through green technology and that cause no environmental hazards are called green products. Promotion of green technology and green products is necessary for the conservation of natural resources and sustainable development.

We can define green products by following measures:

  • Products those are originally grown
  • Products those are recyclable, reusable and bio-degradable,
  • Products with natural ingredients
  • Products containing recycled contents, non-toxic chemicals,
  • Products containing underapproved chemical
  • Products that do not harm or pollute the environment
  • Products that will not be tested on animals
  • Products that have eco-friendly packaging, i.e., reusable, refillable containers, etc.

Challenges in Green Marketing

The firms using green marketing must ensure that their activities are not misleading to consumers or industry, and do not breach any of the regulations or laws dealing with environmental marketing.

Challenges in green marketing:

  1. Need for Standardization
  2. New Concept
  3. Patience and Perseverance
  4. Avoiding Green Myopia

Need for Standardization

It is found that only 5% of the marketing messages from “green” campaigns are entirely true and there is a lack of standardization to authenticate these claims. There is no standardization currently in place to certify a product as organic.

Unless some regulatory bodies are involved in providing the certifications there will not be any verifiable means. A standard quality control board needs to be in place for such labelling and licensing.

New Concept

Indian literate and urban consumer is getting more aware of the merits of green products. But it is still a new concept for the masses. The consumer needs to be educated and made aware of the environmental threats. The new green movements need to reach the masses and that will take a lot of time and effort.

By India’s ayurvedic heritage, Indian consumers do appreciate the importance of using natural and herbal beauty products. The Indian consumer is exposed to healthy living lifestyles such as yoga, meditation and natural food consumption. In those aspects the consumer is already aware and will be inclined to accept the green products.

Patience and Perseverance

The investors and corporates need to view the environment as a major long-term investment opportunity, the marketers need to look at the long-term benefits from this new green movement. It will require a lot of patience and no immediate results. Since, it is a new concept and idea, it will have its own acceptance period.

Avoiding Green Myopia

The first rule of green marketing is focusing on customer benefits, i.e., the primary reason why consumers buy certain products in the first place. Do this right, and motivate consumers to switch brands or even pay a premium for the greener alternative.

It is not going to help if a product is developed which is absolutely green in various aspects but does not pass the customer satisfaction criteria. This will lead to green myopia. Also if the green products

Marketing Mix of Green Marketing

Just as we have 4Ps of marketing mix, viz., product, price, place and promotion in marketing, we have 4Ps in green marketing too, but they are a bit different.

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place
  4. Promotion


Products can be made from recycled materials or from used goods. Efficient products not only save water, energy and money, but also reduce harmful effects on the environment. Green chemistry forms the growing focus of product development.

For example, Nike is the first among the shoe companies to market itself as green.


Green pricing takes into consideration the people, planet and profit in a way that takes care of the health of employees and communities and ensures efficient productivity.

Value can be added to it by changing its appearance, functionality and through customization, etc. Wal Mart unveiled its first recyclable cloth shopping bag.


Green place is about managing logistics to cut down on transportation emissions, thereby in effect aiming at reducing the carbon footprint.

For example, instead of marketing an imported mango juice in India it can be licensed for local production. This avoids shipping of the product from far away, thus reducing shipping cost and more importantly, the consequent carbon emission by the ships and other modes of transport.


Green promotion involves configuring the tools of promotion, such as advertising, marketing materials, signage, white papers, websites, videos and presentations by keeping people, planet and profits in mind.

Indian Tobacco Company has introduced environmental-friendly papers and boards, which are free from elemental chlorine.

Importance of Green Marketing

Green marketing offers business bottom line incentives and top line growth possibilities. While modification of business or production processes may involve start-up costs, it will save money in the long-term.

For example, the cost of installing solar energy is an investment in future energy cost savings. Companies that develop new and improved products and services with environmental impacts in mind give themselves access to new markets, substantially increase profits and enjoy competitive advantages over those marketing non-environmentally responsible alternatives.

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