Green marketing is much more complex because the environmentalism has many meanings and issues such as – sustainability, animal conservation, human rights, planet conservation, fair trade, organic trade, corporate social responsiveness and what not. In the 1990s marketers paid only lip service to green marketing to make money.
Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Chernobyl’s radio-activeness fatality, Exxon Oil spill. Products made from recycled material were seen as inferior and promoted through overzealous promotions.
Peattie and Crane have described following five reasons which brought disillusionment with green marketing:
1. Green Spinning:
Those who were in dirty business earned reputation through public relations. Dow Chemicals, responsible for misdoing of Union Carbide is the sponsor of Olympic Games in London in 2012.
2. Green Selling:
Unproven green features are used to promote the sale and such claims have made consumers suspicious.
3. Green Harvesting:
Companies, often in the name of green, reduce packaging and the savings are not passed on to the consumers. Reality is that the product being sold at higher price in the name of green.
4. Environment Marketing:
While the boutique entrepreneurs sell innovative green products to the market (like Shahnaz Husain), the corporate entrepreneurs sell these products along with their regular products.
5. Compliance Marketing:
Organisations plan their green products more out of regulatory compliance rather than conviction.
According to Pittea and Crane the organisations which truly promote green products out of conviction show the following four characteristics:
1. Customer facing:
Such companies often undertake market research to know about wants, needs, attitudes, and beliefs and knowledge. They also analyse the impact on other stakeholders.
2. Have a long-term Perspective:
3. Fully use Company Resources:
There is a commitment in using company resources and no one compromises on the ecological performance of products.
Firms through innovation try to improve product longevity and improve upon technology or buy back the used goods or packaging for recycling.
However, in a 2011 European Commission Survey large gap was found between consumer attitude and action. It was indicated that 72% of European respondents were willing to buy green products, but only 17% purchased. Thus, there is a deep disconnection between consumer intent and action. Organic and fair-trade movements continue to remain in niche, confined to a class of very committed consumers.
Procter & Gamble’s Ariel consumers in the UK reduced their energy use by 41% as a result of the Ariel Cool Clean campaign, which encourages consumers to wash at 30°C without a loss in washing results. For a family of four this results in average savings of around 43 kg of C02 – the equivalent of driving 240 km – from being released into the atmosphere per person.