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April 6, 2012

Green Marketing - Indian Initiatives


According to the American Marketing Association, green marketing is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe. Thus green marketing incorporates a broad range of activities, including product modification, changes to the production process, packaging changes, as well as modifying advertising. Yet defining green marketing is not a simple task where several meanings intersect and contradict each other; an example of this will be the existence of varying social, environmental and retail definitions attached to this termOther similar terms used are Environmental Marketing and Ecological Marketing.

* The first wave of Green Marketing occurred in the 1980s. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Reports started with the ice cream seller Ben & Jerry's where the financial report was supplemented by a greater view on the company's environmental impact.

* In 1987 a document prepared by the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as meeting "the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need", this became known as the Brundtland Report and was another step towards widespread thinking on sustainability in everyday activity.

* Two tangible milestones for wave of green marketing came in the form of published books, both of which were called Green Marketing. They were by Ken Peattie (1992) in the United Kingdom and by Jacquelyn Ottman (1993) in the United States of America.

In the years after 2000 a second wave of Green marketing emerged. By now CSR and the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) were widespread. Such publications as a 2005 United Nations Report, then in 2006 a book by Al Gore and the UK Stern Report brought scientific-environmental arguments to a wide public in an easy to understand way.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this paper is to examine the need and significance of green marketing and also to evaluate the initiatives taken by the Indian companies and concern for green marketing in their core business values.

Benefits of Green Marketing

Companies that develop new and improved products and services with environment inputs in mind give themselves access to new markets, increase their profit sustainability, and enjoy a competitive advantage over the companies which are not concerned for the environment.

Adoption of Green Marketing
here are basically five reasons for which a marketer should go for the adoption of green marketing. They are -

* Opportunities or competitive advantage
* Corporate social responsibilities (CSR)
* Government pressure
* Competitive pressure
* Cost or profit issues

Green Marketing Mix

Every company has its own favourite marketing mix. Some have 4 P's and some have 7 P's of marketing mix. The 4 P's of green marketing are that of a conventional marketing but the challenge before marketers is to use 4 P's in an innovative manner.


The ecological objectives in planning products are to reduce resource consumption and pollution and to increase conservation of scarce resources (Keller man, 1978).


Price is a critical and important factor of green marketing mix. Most consumers will only be prepared to pay additional value if there is a perception of extra product value. This value may be improved performance, function, design, visual appeal, or taste. Green marketing should take all these facts into consideration while charging a premium price.


There are three types of green advertising: -

* Ads that address a relationship between a product/service and the biophysical environment
* Those that promote a green lifestyle by highlighting a product or service
* Ads that present a corporate image of environmental responsibility


The choice of where and when to make a product available will have significant impact on the customers. Very few customers will go out of their way to buy green products.

Challenges Ahead

* Green products require renewable and recyclable material, which is costly
* Requires a technology, which requires huge investment in R & D
* Water treatment technology, which is too costly
* Majority of the people are not aware of green products and their uses
* Majority of the consumers are not willing to pay a premium for green products

Green marketing of MNCs

* Philips Light's CFL

Philips Lighting's first shot at marketing a standalone compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb was Earth Light, at $15 each versus 75 cents for incandescent bulbs.[17] The product had difficulty climbing out of its deep green niche.[17]The company re-launched the product as "Marathon," underscoring its new "super long life" positioning and promise of saving $26 in energy costs over its five-year lifetime.[18] Finally, with the U.S. EPA's Energy Star label to add credibility as well as new sensitivity to rising utility costs and electricity shortages, sales climbed 12 percent in an otherwise flat market.[18]

* Electronics sector

The consumer electronics sector provides room for using green marketing to attract new customers. One example of this is HP's promise to cut its global energy use 20 percent by the year 2010.[21] To accomplish this reduction below 2005 levels, The Hewlett-Packard Company announced plans to deliver energy-efficient products and services and institute energy-efficient operating practices in its facilities worldwide.

* Introduction of CNG in Delhi

New Delhi, capital of India, was being polluted at a very fast pace until Supreme Court of India forced a change to alternative fuels. In 2002, a directive was issued to completely adopt CNG in all public transport systems to curb pollution


* ITC has been 'Carbon Positive' three years in a row (sequestering/storing twice the amount of CO2 than the Company emits).

* 'Water Positive' six years in a row (creating three times more Rainwater Harvesting potential than ITC's net consumption).

* Close to 100% solid waste recycling.

* All Environment, Health and Safety Management Systems in ITC conform to the best international standards.

* ITC's businesses generate livelihoods for over 5 million people.

* ITC's globally recognised e-Choupal initiative is the world's largest rural digital infrastructure benefiting over 4 million farming families.

* ITC's Social and Farm Forestry initiative has greened over 80,000 hectares creating an estimated 35 million person days of employment among the disadvantaged.

* ITC's Watershed Development Initiative brings precious water to nearly 35,000 hectares of drylands and moisture-stressed areas.

* ITC's Sustainable Community Development initiatives include women empowerment, supplementary education, integrated animal husbandry programmes.

* Maruthi:Greening of Supply Chain

The company has remained ahead of regulatory requirements in pursuit of environment protection and energy conservation at its manufacturing facilities, and in development of products that use fewer natural resources and are environment friendly.

The company credited the 'Just-in-Time' philosophy adopted and internalized by the employees as the prime reason that helped to excel in this direction.

The company has been promoting 3R since its inception. As a result the company has not only been able to recycle 100% of treated waste water but also reduced fresh water consumption. The company has implemented rain water harvesting to recharge the aquifers. Also, recyclable packing for bought out components is being actively promoted.

The company has been facilitating implementation of Environment Management System (EMS) at its suppliers' end. Regular training programs are conducted for all the suppliers on EMS. Surveys are conducted to assess the vendors who need more guidance. The systems and the environmental performance of suppliers are audited.

The green co-efficient of this system is much better than the conventional system

* HCL's Environment Management Policy under HCL ecoSafe

In building a system to identify, develop and sustain the maintenance of an environment management system at corporate level we have formulated a program that we proudly refer as HCL's ecosafe.

The aim is to encapsulate knowledge, awareness, and key developments on all environmental issues faced by today's world and to incorporate these in HCL's operations assuring our commitment in delivering quality products, solutions and services

The key objective under HCL ecoSafe is targeted at integrating environmental management procedures into its business processes thereby protecting the environment, health, and safety of all its stakeholders. HCL commits to manufacture products that are environment friendly in all respects and are free from hazardous chemicals.

HCL ecoSafe focuses on product lifecycle management to ensure that our products right from when they are manufactured, bought by customers, recovered at their end-of-life and recycled after useful life are done in an environmentally responsible manner Key initiatives undertaken through HCL ecoSafe program are:
Some more Examples:

* McDonald's restaurant's napkins, bags are made of recycled paper.

* Coca-Cola pumped syrup directly from tank instead of plastic which saved 68 million pound/year.

* Badarpur Thermal Power station of NTPC in Delhi is devising ways to utilize coal-ash that has been a major source of air and water pollution.

* Barauni refinery of IOC is taken steps for restricting air and water pollutants.

Public Opinion on Green Marketing:

* Shoppers are thinking green, but not always buying that way, according to a new study released by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Deloitte. The study found that while 54 percent of shoppers indicate that environmental sustainability in a factor in their purchasing decisions, they actually bought green products on just 22 percent of their shopping trips. The survey is the basis of the GMA-Deloitte report titled Finding the Green in Today's Shoppers: Sustainability Trends and New Shopper Insights and was based on interviews with over 6,400 shoppers.

* Now eco packaging is poised to become the next low-hanging fruit of the clean tech world. Investors and entrepreneurs this week at Europe's most important annual clean tech conference reported unprecedented interest in reducing the use of raw materials while finding superior protection for food and other products.

* Consumers are increasingly putting plastic shopping bags and non-green wrapping items on their naughty list, according to Deloitte's 2008 Annual Holiday Survey. Nearly half of the 13,000 consumers polled said they'd be willing to pay more for green gifts. This was up from 17 percent last year.

* Consumers perceive themselves as being environmentally responsible. Successful green marketing requires matching a company's brand attributes with its customers' identity as "green." An article suggested examining green marketing from the perspective of the 4 P's of marketing -- product, price, placement and promotion -- plus a 5th P, "prove it."

* Americans are quick to identify polluting companies as "socially irresponsible" and make their purchasing decisions accordingly, says a new survey. The poll also found that American consumers between the ages of 18-29 are more likely to spend more on organic, environmentally preferable or fair trade products than other age groups.

* The survey, by the research firm Global Market Insite, quizzed more than 15,000 online consumers in the U.S. and 16 other countries about their socially conscious business practices.

* Americans placed the highest value on corporate community involvement; when asked what factor was the most important in determining if a business is socially responsible, "contributing to the community" (e.g. sponsorship, grants, employee volunteer programs) came in highest with 47%. On the other hand, all of the other countries surveyed (India, Canada, Australia, Germany, China, and Japan) selected environmentally preferable practices (recycling, using biodegradable products) as the top factor.

* "In the high-tech era where employees are expected to work 24/7, it's significant that Americans rate giving back to the community as their top priority in recognizing socially responsible companies," said Marjorie Thompson, co-author of Brand Spirit: How Cause Related Marketing Builds Brands. "It shows that people want to feel connected to each other and that they are willing to reward businesses who tap into this sense of mutual support and belonging. Companies will need to start thinking of their community programs as core to their businesses and brands, and central to how they market themselves."

* Not surprising, the U.S., along with other countries such as India and China, which have experienced environmental disasters caused by corporations (e.g. Love Canal, Bhobal, Exxon Valdez) or have had to deal with major polluting issues (e.g. coal plants, manufacturing), believe that damaging the environment is associated with acting socially irresponsible. Other countries, including France (60%), Denmark (52%) and Italy (45%) selected the use of child labor as the main factor in making them think a corporation is socially irresponsible.

* Juxtaposing Americans' negative opinions on damaging the environment, the GMIPoll found that only 42% of all Americans are willing to spend more for products branded as organic, environmentally friendly, or fair trade, except for the Y Generation. While only 14% of 18-29 year olds label themselves as socially responsible consumers, half of this age group (50%) responded that they will spend more on these types of products (organic, environmentally friendly or fair trade) compared to their older and wealthier counterparts, with only 37% of 45-64 years olds saying they would spend more on green products.

* Thompson adds: "Based on the findings, Generation Y is obviously more environmentally conscious and socially savvy, which is expected given that many are aware of the issues surrounding globalization and trade and how this can negatively affect the environment, labor pool and the local communities."

* Surprisingly, a large majority of online consumers in the less developed countries of China and India, 91% and 71% respectively, will pay more for socially responsible products, while almost half (47%) of the U.K. respondents indicated they would spend more for these types of goods.


Green marketing should not neglect the economic aspect of marketing. Marketers need to understand the implications of green marketing. If we think customers are not concerned about environmental issues or will not pay a premium for products that are more eco-responsible, think again. We must find an opportunity to enhance our product's performance and strengthen yur customer's loyalty and command a higher price.

Green marketing is still in its infancy and a lot of research is to be done on green marketing to fully explore its potential.Think of a refrigerator for example. While we may have had to be convinced in the 1950s to buy a refrigerator, we would have wanted the great white box to look cool in the 1970s, but in today's uncertain world, we might ask ourselves about the impact of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that our refrigerator is emitting and demand a more environmentally friendly refrigerator.

So, if today's successful marketing is about appealing to personal values and delivering consumer empowerment, then surely the time is right to inject sustainable development into the marketing mix to help address some of the gritty issues currently facing our planet.Green marketing methods produce highly effective results. They apply all of the steps you need to cut costs, raise response rates and increase growth in the most important marketing metric we are all held accountable for—the bottom line

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