What is green marketing and why does your business need to embrace it?

by Jane O’Mahoney

Environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly important to both organisations and their consumers.

Green marketing is the marketing of environmentally friendly products and services e.g. they can be recycled or they are produced in a sustainable way. It seeks to address the lack of fit between marketing as it is currently practiced and the ecological and social realities of the wider marketing environment. It is important for a number of reasons, from reinventing products and changing processes to educating consumers about how a company is maintaining and developing eco-friendly measures.

Green marketing is not new or a fad but until recent years, you probably hadn’t heard it spoken about very often and you may still not fully understand why your business needs to embrace it.

Sustainability, is where the world is heading. So, to get ahead of your competitors, you need to develop a strategy to get you there first. At the same time, you need to implement green marketing to increase brand awareness and revenue by targeting the ever-growing number of customers who are willing to spend extra on products that do not harm the planet.

Thanks largely to Sir David Attenborough and The Blue Planet, society has increasingly woken up to the real and damaging effect the way we are currently living and working is having on the planet. It left those who viewed it traumatised and triggered The Blue Planet Effect, leading many consumers to completely change their attitudes towards single-use plastics and the ethics of companies, something that hadn’t been questioned in the same way before. Sir David Attenborough’s commentary truly sobered the world and, ultimately, opened the door to discussion about sustainability as a whole.

“We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet and, never before, have we had the power to do something about that.

“Surely, we all have a responsibility to care for our Blue Planet. The future of humanity and indeed, all life on earth, now depends on us.” – Sir David Attenborough, The Blue Planet II

At the 2015 Paris climate talks, world leaders agreed to keep global temperatures below 2C, with the aim of trying to limit it to 1.5C. However, organisations such as NASA have since reported that the last decade was the warmest ever recorded. In 2020, we watched in horror as Australia burned for months and the realisation that the world’s population had allowed this to happen, finally sunk in.

What many have now realised, is sustainability and by proxy, green marketing, is in no way a light or ‘nice to do’ issue, it is an extremely serious and real challenge businesses must tackle, or face the repercussions, whether this be fines or brand devaluation. Those that develop a strong strategy and market it correctly, will reap huge benefits.