The relevance of green marketing for your business (and the world)!
Find out why you need to merge sustainability with your business strategies.
Sustainability has made headlines in the corporate world over the past two decades. And it is not by chance, considering people’s growing concern for the environment. More than just a buzzword, this concept reinforces how companies are engaged in contributing to reduce the negative impacts of human actions. In this context, the idea of green marketing has grown.
Packaging and advertisements show off things like: “100% natural”, “environment-friendly”, “green product” and many others.
Without judging the merits of whether this information is true or not, the fact is that businesses are taking advantage of it to highlight their brands and attract more customers.
Simplistically speaking, this kind of practice can be characterized as green marketing.
Does your business use it or you are not sure what this concept is? Don’t worry!
In this post, we will answer all your questions on this topic and show you how sustainability can help you to elevate your brand and of course, improve life on the planet.
The concern with sustainability
Sustainability is a widespread concept in the market, but frequently misused or misleading.
The word comes from the verb sustain, which means taking care, maintaining, keeping something. In other words, in relation to the environment, it refers to the ability of using natural resources with little or no impact, contributing to their preservation.
Therefore, a sustainable business is one concerned with environmental issues, seeking ways to carry out its activity without harming the environment around us. Thus, it uses clean or renewable energy sources, treats and recycles its waste and maintains an exchange relationship with the communities impacted by its activity.
The idea of sustainability began to emerge in the 1980s, when various organizations began to discuss the subject.
In 1987, the term sustainable development was used for the first time in a conference of the United Nations (UN) by the then Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland.
Brundtland herself defined in the book Our Common Future:
“Sustainable development means supplying the current needs without affecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Since then, governments, organizations, and companies have been looking for ways to reduce and minimize the impact of human activity on the environment.
People increasingly began to become aware of this need, something that was noticed and used by businesses.
Along the way, this change has been happening gradually. The very understanding of the concept of sustainability has changed.
For example, a product once considered sustainable because it is biodegradable may no longer be seen as such. Today, the same product would be more acceptable if it were organic and 100% natural.
Green marketing: understand the concept
You can understand green marketing as a set of marketing strategies focused on emphasizing the adoption of more sustainable practices by a company.
This could be expressed from the production process, and the acquisition of supplies, to the way a company treats its byproducts and relates to the community, a rising market trend.
It is also called environmental marketing or eco marketing, in other words, a way of doing marketing with environmental imprint — so that an organization can promote its image by raising awareness of the need to preserve the environment.
So, a business that does green marketing can either just publicize its eco-friendly actions or really change its attitudes towards it.
However, conveying an image without really maintaining a sustainable practice is not enough — this action is known as greenwashing. This happens when a company tries to mislead the public by using false information to look green when they really aren’t.
Nine ways of promoting green marketing in your business
Now that you know what green marketing is, you must be thinking: Which actions can I take to be more sustainable day-to-day in my business?
Here are easy ways to make small changes to act more responsibly when it comes to the wellbeing of the planet. Take a look!
Recycling internally is maybe the simplest way of making your company become “greener.”
Spreading around bins that already separate the discarded contents according to each material is a good start.
The idea may also be expanded by using these materials for other purposes. Plastic packs, for example, can be used as pencil holders, and paper that is used on one side only and would be discarded can be reused as scratch paper.
In addition, it’s possible to use organic matter for obtaining energy through biodigesters or even as fertilizers (which is a good incentive to make a small vegetable garden in your company!)
2. Renewable energy
Another manner of being more sustainable is by using renewable energy such as wind and solar energy, for example, especially for production.
It is worth pointing out that industrial and agricultural activities consume a lot of potable water and electricity. Thus, investing in actions to reduce this consumption may represent a significant difference.
Don’t forget to make sure that you can use this type of energy in the city. If you can’t, you still can think of some smart exchanges, which we’ll show you in the next topic.
3. Smart exchanges
Changing ways of consuming energy is not enough; it is also important to worry about reducing it.
A way of doing this is by smart switching, for example using LED lighting — more economical and efficient than conventional lighting.
Or, giving preference to raw materials of plant origin instead of animal. Many companies stand out for not testing their products on animals.
Green marketing is present not only in production, but in relationships.
That’s why investing in this strategy is worthless if your providers do not embrace the cause.
Choosing your business partners well is crucial, making sure that they adopt values similar to yours.
A good example is that of “green companies” that buy supplies from local organic producers.
5. Organic products
Many businesses stand out in the market by offering only organic products. Such as businesses that do not use pesticides or other artificial supplies in their production.
In addition to being healthier, these products are highly valued in the market as they pollute less.
6. Plastic reduction
Some businesses are reducing the use of plastic materials both internally and externally. This is the case of restaurants that do not use straws, use cups made of paper and recyclable and reusable packaging.
7. Collaborative savings
Collaborative savings is a business model in which goods are shared.
Many companies, like Uber and Airbnb, have stood out in recent times as an example of this concept.
However, the reduction of natural resources by using this model is not discussed much. After all, if many people use the same service, the cost and impact on the environment may also be lower.
Want a tip to take advantage of this idea?
If you still have a small staff or work alone, what about using co-working spaces?
This way, in addition to having a creative place to develop your ideas and meet new people, you also help the environment as you don’t have to leave the light on in an office just for you.
Inclusion has recently become a concern among companies, including the creation of laws that encourage or enforce the practice.
It may be a green marketing form because social development is also a form of being more sustainable.
It may not have a direct impact on the environment, but ethnic, sexual and gender diversity helps to improve the way the public sees your business.
You should not only show that your brand is open to egalitarian values, but really be that way!
Know the benefits of acting with sustainable policies
It is now common sense that businesses attract customers who have the same values.
Therefore, if your brand is concerned about the environment, it naturally attracts a public with the same conscience.
At the same time, other audiences may be attracted by other attributes, such as price and quality. In other words, your business can have a much wider reach than its competitors who don’t embrace green marketing.
The truth is that the eco marketing strategy was created under pressure from the consumers, who began to demand a more sustainable attitude from companies. So, it may be a tiebreaker against competitors.
Many people prefer paying more for a product with less impact on the environment, which companies promote diversity in the work environment or which do not do animal testing, among other good practices.
Therefore, we may say that green marketing adds value to products and services.
And it significantly improves people’s perception of your brand, boosting it in the market.
Invest in green marketing
Many businesses have understood the benefits of adopting green marketing and have noticed how a more sustainable attitude can add value to their brand.
More than that, this is a way to help future generations continue to enjoy the planet as much as we do today.
Fortunately, this concept is gaining more and more fans, although some organizations are reluctant as they think it is too costly.
On the contrary, sustainability must be seen as a short- and long-term investment for increasing competitiveness.
However, adopt strategies that are really green. After all, misleading your consumers with immoral practices is useless and, oftentimes, illegal.
In a transformation process, chose to invest gradually if it is not possible to apply a more sustainable attitude at once.
After reading this post, we hope that you really begin to invest in green marketing and strategies that provide returns for your business and for the world as a whole. Your customers and people, in general, will surely thank you.
Did you like learning about what green marketing is? Want more tips to improve your business management? Then also read about why knowledge management is important for your company!