With climate change becoming more visible every year, the public has more interest in green practices and green businesses. You can see evidence of on the news and in social media.
In a survey conducted in 2020, 45 percent of respondents said they wanted to find products that were sustainable or ecologically friendly. Similarly, 44% of customers said they were interested in brands that promoted recycling.
Given the spike in gas prices, people are replacing gas-guzzlers with hybrids and electric vehicles, stores are installing solar panels and wind turbines on their roofs, and supermarkets are stocking more organic and natural products. Cities encourage car-free commuting. To save electricity, hotels, banks, hospitals, and businesses are using LED bulbs and putting in rooftop solar and reducing waste.
According to a recent study by Getty Images, 66% of respondents do everything they can to decrease their carbon footprints.
To borrow a popular fashion expression, green is the new black. Indeed, the Global Language Monitor reports that from 2000 to 2009, the top word and phrases of the decade were “Global Warming” and “Climate Change.”
Thus, unless you are completely unaware of what is going on around you, you are probably aware that something termed a “Green Revolution” is underway.
The adverse effects on the environment caused by businesses and human activities have prompted businesses to develop eco-friendly products.
Are internet shoppers interested in green products and companies?
It’s a positive sign that consumers value an eco-friendly environment, even among people we may not expect, such as internet users, who say they’ll pay more for eco-friendly products.
Keep in mind that “sustainable development” is defined as “development that fulfills current needs without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to meet their own.”
Additionally, according to PRNewswire, the market for green technology and sustainability is expected to reach $36.6 billion in value by 2025.
What is green marketing?
Green marketing, or eco-marketing, refers to an organization’s efforts to create, promote, price, and distribute environmentally friendly products.
It’s more of a company’s sales promotion operations with the deliberate goal of avoiding and reducing the environmental pollution in the planning, coordination, implementation, and control of all market-oriented transactions.
Green marketing is often referred to as environmental protection marketing, sustainable marketing, or ecology-oriented marketing.
In comparison to conventional marketing operations, green marketing takes into account not only client and competitor orientation but also ecological and ethical decision-making principles. Therefore, a company’s sales potential rises as a result of conscientious and honest environmental knowledge.
Green marketing encompasses the entire organization, not just the products. Sustainability marketing, a subset of eco-marketing, blends a company’s economic performance with ecological and social benefits for employees, consumers, and society as a whole.
A coat of green paint and an impressive array of quality seals and certificates on the packaging is far from sufficient. The term “green marketing” refers to all parts of a product, from production through packaging, advertising, and distribution.
Now, let us turn our focus to the issue of greenwashing.
What is greenwashing?
The growth in popularity of green policies and green marketing hasn’t gone unnoticed.
However, this resulted in some businesses simply hopping on the bandwagon and taking a risk with their reputations.
Greenwashing is a misleading marketing tactic that involves making unfounded claims about a product’s or service’s environmental benefits. To put it another way, greenwashing is a marketing strategy employed by businesses to deceive people into believing that their products, services, or mission have a lesser environmental impact than they actually do.
Greenwashing, it turns out, is not a particularly recent term. The word was coined in the 1980s by environmental activist Jay Westerveld. He addressed the current state of the hotel industry in an essay at the time.
Climate change has numerous causes, just as its impacts are numerous. Everybody is talking about taking responsibility, altering their habits, and embracing climate-friendly alternatives. This does not go overlooked by businesses, since corporate environmental responsibility is required and pushed.
What is the difference between green marketing and green washing?
Put simply, green marketing is the skill of marketing your products honestly as a truly sustainable business. A major shift in values may be witnessed, particularly among the younger generation, infused with a sense of sustainability.
While greenwashing is a common marketing strategy many businesses use to make their products and services appear to be more ecologically and climate-friendly.
Greenwashing carries a pretty negative meaning and hence serves as a sort of “curse word” for many marketing professionals. In comparison to businesses that genuinely take action and assist relevant organizations and the like, greenwashing is primarily about image management.
Under certain circumstances, it is even possible to speak about fraud. This is especially true when the consumer is deceived by deceptive promises and purchases a product only on the strength of acceptable buzzwords. A classic example is milk advertising that portrays outstanding animal husbandry on broad pastures but conceals a standard factory farm.
However, simple greenwashing is usually self-evident and does not guarantee long-term success.
What green policies and green marketing can hotels do?
Globally, the hospitality industry has become increasingly concerned about environmental issues. It has been estimated that the hotel industry contributes 75% of environmental degradation through excessive energy, water, and material consumption.
The wastewater, fumes, and materials released during the operation have a detrimental effect on the environment.
Thus, without suitable design and planning, the environment would suffer negative consequences. The concept of environmental protection and energy conservation may motivate hotel facility construction to incorporate green management practices.
If the hotel sector can successfully implement the concept of green management, it’s the potential to benefit environmental and ecological conservation.
Also, it would reduce hotel operating costs. Additionally, green marketing can appeal to consumers that share the same sentiment. There is a growing global interest in environmental protection.
Findings indicate that older tourists have a more pro-environmental or circular attitude toward hotel establishments than younger tourists do and that the majority of tourists are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly or green hotels, associated with socio-demographic variables.
Some examples of good green policies in the hospitality industry include:
- Reducing disposable plastic water bottles in favor of reusable ones and water fountains
- Installing energy-efficient light bulbs
- Reducing the use of air conditioning, especially when rooms are not occupied
- Reducing water use by not washing sheets and towels during the guest visit unless requested
- Installing low flow shower heads
- Sourcing more sustainably farmed food for their restaurants
- Recycling and donating partially soap and shampoos to communities in need
- Stopping the use of scenting chemicals and toxic cleaning chemicals
- Separating trash and recycling more
- Reducing use of PVC keys in favor or paper or electronic keys
Once a hotel implements some of these green policies, they should message it on property, on their website, in social media, and in email promotions to tip the balance with consumers that prefer to do business with green businesses.
What green marketing is happening in the banking sector?
Banking activities are not physically connected to the environment, but their client actions have a significant external influence. As a result, banks must incorporate sustainable practices into their operations, buildings, investments, and financing methods.
Banks have huge offices and branches, so they can focus on reducing electricity consumption with the aforementioned efficient light bulbs, rooftop solar, or sourcing sustainable power from alternative sources.
Banks can also create and market programs that help green businesses or help existing businesses become greener.
Lastly, banks and financial companies can divest or divert funds from companies with poor and detrimental green policies.
Banks, like hotels, can promote these green policies on the brand and throughout their digital assets.
How does green marketing work?
We’ll take a quick look at how green marketing works in three straightforward steps.
1. Eco-friendly design
Green design is not simply about using eco-friendly hues and affixing a recyclable sign. It’s about adjusting perspective and policy. To that aim, the first step toward sustainable design is to have a sustainable product.
If this is true, there is no need for greenwashing, and your brand’s excellent reputation will simply strengthen.
When designing a product or service, it is critical to keep sustainability in mind throughout the process. You must consider where the resources come from, how the workers are involved, how they are handled, how much waste is made, how much energy and water is lost, how the items will be packaged and transported, and what will happen to the products utilized through disposal.
2. Practical transparency and certification
If you want to retain clients, especially when sustainability is a priority, you must be completely transparent, even when things go wrong.
How do you accomplish these?
The following are the responses:
- Provide access: Ensure that your customers have access to accurate information about your products, procedures, and progress reports.
- Standards: Employ worldwide standards, guidelines, and reports from organizations such as the ISO, the United Nations Environment Program, and other international organizations. There is a new standard ISO 14020 that can guide a company on their practices and certify the result.
- Radical transparency: giving as much information as possible to your customers and your website is a logical place to provide it.
3. Pricing and price sharing
Some of your green practices may have higher prices, while others, like energy consumption, may save money. Look at your net cost changes for the green policies as a whole.
Are more expensive than non-sustainable alternatives, you’ll want to explain this to your buyer.
Many customers are willing to bear some of the additional costs associated with environmental concerns as long as the company’s green operations seem authentic and the measures implemented are not significantly less than what customers were expecting.
Milestone can help you communicate your green marketing with a website update and an omnichannel campaign. Contact us at [email protected].