Greenmarketing refers to a marketing strategy that is aimed at creating apresumption that a product is environmentally preferable relative tothe competitors. Green marketing is also known as eco orenvironmental marketing. In addition to informing the potentialconsumers on how the product is environmentally friendly, greenmarketing may involve sustainable, biodegradable or recyclablepackaging material, modification of the production process or theproduct. Although there are legal regulations against misleadingmarketing claims, there are evidences of misleading greenadvertisements. Due to the increased need for environmentconservation and campaigns from environment advocate groups,consumers prefer products that are perceived to be environmentallyfriendly. This has created a wave of green marketing through variousadvertisement channels (Ottman, 2014).
Environmentalor green products
Thereare several ways through which a product can be called green orenvironmental product. This includes
Targeting where a producer designs a green brand that target a particular market niche by mentioning green features in the advertisement.
Green design where a company changes raw materials or design or adopt an eco-friendly production process.
Green positioning where a company highlights some of the aspects of the product that are environment friendly.
Marketing waste where the company increases its efficiency to reduce waste and recycle.
Green promotion where a company counters bad perception due to negative environmental impacts by highlighting its environmental friendly initiatives.
Green alliance where a company enters into strategic alliance with environment conservation and activist groups.
Greenwashing is public relation activity that is aimed at making a companyand its product to look more environmentally friendly. Often, greenwashing is unsubstantiated and based on misleading information aboutthe benefits of the product or service to the environment. Theactivity makes the company look environmentally conscious tounsuspecting targeted clients. Mainly, green washing is used as amarketing tool by depicting the company and its products as moreenvironmentally friendly. Green washing is unethical because thecompany is likely to spend more in the activity compared to theamount of money spent on environmentally friendly activities (Bowen,2014).
Examplesof genuine environmental claim
Althougha good number of green marketing can be termed as green washing,there are some products that are genuinely environmentally friendly.However, it is difficult for an ordinary customer to differentiatebetween genuine and misleading green advertising. Some of the genuineenvironment includes,
The hybrid Toyota Prius car concept which has low emission, fuel efficient and eco friendly technology.
The nontoxic and biodegradable cleaning products marketed by Method.
Tesco environment sustainability program.
Examplesof green washing attempts in ads
The changes in colors in the logo of McDonald to yellow and green from the previous yellow and red. This was done in 2009 with an aim of creating the perception that the company is environmentally responsible. However, this was not supported by changes in operation to reflect environmental sustainability.
During the 2008 presidential election, the famous “clean coal” initiative was considered by many environmentalist and activists as a green wash. Although it was political, it was a ‘marketing strategy’ used by politician to market their candidates.
The “go green” campaign by Wal-Mart is also a green wash. According to some environment activist groups, the campaign has benefited the Wal-Mart than the environment. They have highlighted several environmentally unsustainable activities by Wal-Mart to proof their case.
Bowen.F. (2014). AfterGreen washing: Symbolic Corporate Environmentalism and Society,Cambridge University Press.
Dobin,D. (2009). "Greenwashing harms entire movement". LodgingHospitality65 (14): 42.
Ottman,J. (2014). Thenew rules of green marketing: strategies, tools, and inspiration forsustainable branding.San Francisco, Calif.: Berrett-Koehler.
Winston,W. (2013). EnvironmentalMarketing: Strategies, Practice, Theory, and Research,New York, NY: Routledge.