An increasing number of companies aim to have a positive environmental or social impact. These sustainability-oriented businesses are critical in order to stabilize and rejuvenate our environment. But turning these goals into reality is rarely easy. These businesses must build teams, processes and, of course, products that will scale to attract their stakeholders.
As they face these additional challenges, it is crucial to scaling a company’s venture by defining, maintaining and communicating their impact mission. That’s where we begin to think about green marketing advantages and disadvantages.
Although those who work in sustainability prefer the term responsible marketing or even ethical marketing, green marketing is still a popular term to define a company that brands itself, a product or a service as beneficial to the environment and our society.
Green marketing includes activities, product modification, changes to the production process, sustainable packaging and even advertisements that are presumed more sustainable.
Green Marketing Advantages and Disadvantages
As sustainability-oriented companies need to scale their impact mission, green marketing becomes a priority. Yes, even with the noblest of causes, there are sometimes two sides of the coin that should be considered. And with this in mind, we thought it would be best to write about the green marketing advantages and disadvantages.
Green Marketing Advantages
Being green or sustainable encompasses many elements; energy efficiency, the use of clean/renewable energy, water conservation, recycling and waste management, eco-friendly apparel, organic produce, sustainable farming and much more. The key to a successful green marketing strategy is to communicate authentic and concrete facts about a company’s engagement toward social and environmental causes.
Let’s take a look at some of the green marketing advantages:
1. A company can enter new markets when it brings attention to positive environmental impact
When a business shines light on the positive impacts their product or service brings about they have the possibility of piercing new target markets. For example, residents that never considered the idea of using solar power might switch to solar panels if the information is clear, concise and targets their needs.
Green marketing advantages can also include highlighting sustainable manufacturing practices, the use of eco-friendly and organic products within the work office, composting and recycling at work, and carpooling to go to work.
The list goes on! Less or better packaging, paperless policies, recycling ink cartridges, planting trees, reducing your carbon footprint. Every company has a possibility to shed light on its efforts, which is why green marketing has great advantages to reach and educate new markets.
2. Gain more profit from green marketing
Sustainability is a key concern for the millennial generation. They are willing to pay more for products and services seen as sustainable or with a positive social impact. Customers are reassured when their products are chemical-free and made with recyclable materials that do not harm the environment.
Green marketing and awareness campaigns help customers to make informed choices potentially contributing to environmental causes. This is a major asset, as conscious customers pay attention to the products they purchase and use, and therefore will become more active in voicing your product, leading to an increase in sales.Need help planning an awareness campaign? Get in touch with us to get started!
3. Green marketing brings a competitive advantage
When you choose green marketing, you become seen as a conscious or responsible leader in your industry. This is true even for customers that do not prioritize environmental issues.
It also creates a wider choice of marketing points that you can promote and discuss with your customers, which go beyond traditional strategies such as having the lowest price, durability and style. Focus on your product’s environmental and social benefits instead of solely marketing the price and value.Get in touch with us to gain a competitive advantage.
4. Raise awareness on important environmental or social issues
If a company supports any causes, partnering with fellow environmental leaders can be part of its green marketing strategy. This can bring huge momentum to a campaign, an event, a training workshop and more.
For example, Patagonia donates a portion of their sales to environmental charities and is seen as one of the most respectable outdoor clothing lines in the world. In fact, they have an entire section on their website dedicated to environmental and social responsibility. Whole Foods supports sustainable agriculture with its suppliers and even created its own Eco-Scale for cleaning products sold.
These might be large-scale companies, but when it comes to green marketing advantages, the same possibilities apply to even the smallest companies.
For example, small businesses such as consulting firms can participate in any local environmental event such as Earth Day, which takes place on April 22. These events bring great awareness and usually have their own activities, competitions and promotions in place. You can contact your local organizers to see if your team can participate in any way.
Green Marketing Disadvantages
1. Change leads to costs
Changing your marketing tactics takes time and the development of a new strategy, which typically translates into increased costs. While your sustainable efforts and practices are designed to save money, when a company puts effort into changing their brand to be more environmentally friendly, those changes can have expensive upfront costs.
2. Costly Green Certifications
To commercialize your products as “green”, depending on your industry you might have to go through a long and pricey process to obtain the environmental certifications. These certifications, which the governments, industry associations, professional associations and consumer rights groups distribute, use certain certifications to meet industry environmental standards. This is especially true for companies operating in the fields of energy consumption and recycling waste management.
Respecting these standards can be difficult and that is one of the main green marketing disadvantages. Particularly because without these official standards, customers and industries will have no way of measuring the facts of green “claims”.
3. Green washing
As green marketing brings so many advantages to a business, a lot of big companies try to look “greener” and the majority of it is just green washing. This means a company will make something not sustainable look green by putting all of the attention on a little detail.
Disposable water companies are extremely harmful to the environment. Yet you will see many that say “Our packaging is 100% recyclable”, while the entire production process is so polluting that they are not a sustainable business.
That’s why many customers have grown skeptical of seeing the word “green” stamped on products or services. The word “green” has been vastly overused and has practically lost all of its meaning. What’s more, some customers even see it as simply an excuse for a company to charge more for products with no environmental benefits.
So in the end what do we think when it comes to green marketing advantages and disadvantages?
Given the global challenges such as climate change we face today, any company that is making a positive impact needs to have a green marketing strategy. Even companies that weren’t necessarily sustainable before can make important changes within their organization to become better.
A company that doesn’t sell eco-friendly products can start recycling and implement a waste management system. Or participate in local sustainable initiatives or start carpooling to work. These are ways that green marketing will allow you to stand out as a responsible company.
Don’t forget that a company that practices green marketing needs to be progressive. Do your best at the beginning. The essential part is that your company does reduce its impact on the environment on a continuous basis.If you are a sustainable or social impact company that needs help in getting their green marketing strategy started, contact us here for a free consultation.