When it comes to creating digital marketing strategies, most companies want to include elements of their core values in their messaging and materials.
After all, the parts of our business that we appreciate most are the ones we want to share.
One area of growth is called green marketing.
Green marketing allows companies to share some of their values and community or global efforts with customers and outsiders alike.
This article will help you understand what green marketing is, show you tips on how to implement green marketing in your strategies, and give you green marketing examples from top brands.
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What is Green Marketing?
Green marketing is a strategy where businesses focus on the sustainable and environmentally friendly practices of their brand, products, or charitable efforts.
Green marketing works to show how a company develops and advertises products in an environmentally sustainable way or how they promote and support green foundations and initiatives.
It began as both a way for companies to share their sustainable practices and a way to show how brands have changed to address customers’ wishes for improved environmental practices.
Often, when a company decides to embrace green marketing, it becomes the core of the brand’s messaging.
Many companies can say they donate a portion of the proceeds they make to green organizations or campaigns, but not as many can claim that their entire business centers around a green-focused approach.
There are many benefits of green marketing, including:
- Demonstrating social and environmental responsibility.
- Implementing sustainable business practices.
- Standing out in an increasingly competitive market.
- Improving credibility in a brand.
- Ensuring the possibilities of long-term growth.
- Educating people on how to make better decisions.
- Reducing expenses and increasing revenue.
- Saving energy and reducing carbon footprints.
- Improving public health.
- Strengthening relationships with target audiences.
Green Marketing Best Practices
Green marketing entails a lot more than just telling your customers that you care about the environment.
In order to practice green marketing, there are a number of best practices you need to follow in both your marketing efforts and within your company.
Incorporate Sustainability Into Your Culture
It’s impossible to claim to be a green company when you don’t practice sustainability within your own company culture.
Make sure to inform employees now and during orientation that an eco-friendly atmosphere is a big focus for your company, so everyone from the ground up has the same goals.
Here are a few examples of ways to promote green company culture:
- Go paperless in the office.
- Encourage remote work or telecommuting to reduce gas emissions.
- Use power-saving light fixtures and bulbs.
- Buy remanufactured ink and toner.
- Install hand dryers in bathrooms.
- Use green-friendly cleaning products.
Get Green Certified
Organizations like Green America, Green Seal, or Green Business Certification Inc. can give your green marketing efforts authority with third-party certifications that you can incorporate into your marketing strategies.
Of course, in order to receive certification, you will need to prove that your company uses sustainable practices and meets the necessary standard levels set forth by the third-party companies.
Support Eco-Friendly Programs
In your philanthropic or community outreach efforts, make sure to include green charities and programs that work to further green efforts in your local area or around the globe.
Adding these types of foundations to your donations will give further credit to your reputation as a green brand and help you connect with influencers and leaders in the green space.
Partner with Like-Minded Businesses
If your company preaches sustainability but partners with brands that don’t address any green efforts in their marketing, you can damage your reputation as an environmentally-focused business.
When you work with other brands that have green marketing programs, you can cross-promote your sustainable practices and help boost your reputation among customers and potential leads.
You can also join forces to create cross-company campaigns and promote green education.
Explain Green Pricing
Environmentally friendly products are going to have a higher cost involved as the business practices used to create them will have more steps, more time involved in sourcing materials, or other considerations that lead to higher pricing.
Make sure your green marketing clearly communicates why your prices might be higher than those of your non-green competitors, and clearly explain the benefits of environmentally friendly products over the alternatives.
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5 Green Marketing Examples
Those new to green marketing might think that only small specialty brands can really change their practices enough to be truly green companies.
However, that is not the case. Many large, international brands have taken a stand and implemented sustainable practices.
Let’s take a look at five green marketing examples from real-world brands.
Patagonia is a great example of a brand that promotes green marketing without falling into the trap of trying to convince customers that every aspect of their business is sustainable.
The retail brand clearly communicates with customers about the materials they use that still need green alternatives and makes sure the rest of their products do use green materials.
In addition to their own business practices, Patagonia also donates millions of dollars to sustainable agriculture programs, endangered species protection groups, coral reef restoration programs, and initiatives that work to restore forests.
As one of the most recognizable brands in the United States with a large global impact, Starbucks had been promoting sustainability and humane sourcing for their products since the early 2000s.
The company regularly donates millions to renewable energy development and other environmental programs.
Starbucks also works to reduce waste in their packaging and products with disposable cups, plastic elimination, and green packing materials.
They also work to create more sustainable practices that reduce water and power waste.
IKEA is a furniture giant that has locations around the globe.
As a major brand focused on renewable energy and sustainable sourcing, IKEA has developed a “People and Planet Positive” strategy that promotes eco-friendly practices, solar energy, and regenerative environmental efforts.
IKEA is also an example of a company that is working towards creating 100% renewable energy in stores and reducing its already low percentage of waste to below the current 15%.
Timberland is a clothing manufacturer and retailer that uses green marketing to create a message of sustainability around its products.
The company is a great example of a brand that has such a strong core message that people are willing to pay more money to receive green-friendly products.
By sharing the green stories of current customers and including green material elements in every product, Timberland has developed and implemented an incredibly successful green marketing strategy, that continues to grow as the brand makes efforts to use 100% renewable materials in the future.
5. The Body Shop
Beauty brands are often under the microscope to create green and sustainable products as the industry as a whole has a negative history of animal testing and chemical productions.
The Body Shop is a beauty brand that’s built its entire marketing strategy around its cruelty-free testing and green efforts.
The company goes beyond non-animal tested products to address important actions surrounding farmers’ rights, human rights, and women’s rights.
The Body Shop also raises awareness of important social issues like domestic violence. Besides that, it is one of many working towards 100% renewable energy.
What to Avoid in Green Marketing
While companies that do green marketing right can find great success both in terms of revenue and personal satisfaction, companies that do green marketing wrong can find themselves with damaged reputations and PR nightmares.
False green marketing, also known as “greenwashing”, occurs when companies claim to have products or processes that are green but are in actuality not made sustainably.
While this is a terrible business practice, some companies still give it a try in an attempt to gain revenue from environmentally friendly audiences without doing the work to earn that business.
To avoid any greenwashing in your marketing efforts, make sure you get real certificates from third-party groups.
That way, you can ensure your work is checked by that outside of your own organization and you can safely promote your products and processes as green without misleading your customers.
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Wrap Up: Treating Green Marketing Seriously
Green marketing is a dedicated effort by companies to demonstrate and market their sustainable practices and promote an environmentally conscious attitude in their customers and employees.
Companies big and small can use green marketing to showcase their actions, and many customers will make conscious decisions to shop at green-focused brands over competitors.
At Rock Content we believe in putting our money where our mouth is, and we wouldn’t tell you all about green marketing without giving you a chance to see our efforts to create a positive impact on the world.
Take a look at our Social Impact Report and see how Rock Content worked to scale social impact programs and evolve diversity & inclusion efforts.
Examples of green marketing include advertising the reduced emissions associated with a product's manufacturing process, or the use of post-consumer recycled materials for a product's packaging.
Eco-friendly companies may include outdoor apparel brands, businesses that make reusable plastic bottles, eco-friendly cleaning companies, businesses that install solar panels, a local recycling business, and many other potential ventures.
- Switch All Lighting to LEDs.
- Implement a Comprehensive Recycling Program.
- Use No-VOC Interior Paints.
- Allow Flexible Work-From-Home Options.
- Eliminate Paper Use.
- Strive for Zero Waste Break Rooms.
- Install Water-Saving Fixtures.
- Consider Renewable Energy.
Green marketing (or environmental marketing) is the promotion of environmentally friendly products, services, and initiatives. More specifically, green marketing refers a broad range of environmentally friendly practices and strategies. Some green marketing examples include: Creating eco-friendly products.