By: Daniel Fumero Lázaro
Year after year, we see our environment increasingly deteriorating. A recent study produced by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) states that humans will need “two Earths” to support our lifestyles by 2030. We are quickly draining the world’s resources. Therefore, the industrial and consumer goods sectors must therefore find ways to use energy and resources more efficiently, improve production processes, develop new technologies and continue to be innovative.
In recent years, the awareness towards preserving the environment has become part of society’s new values and trends. There are many sensitive consumers interested in the ecological value of products. It influences their purchasing decisions and consumer habits (buying recycled and organic items, recycling, etc).
As for marketing, this trend now represents an opportunity to gain advantages from the competition and get close to this market segment. Green marketing seeks to satisfy customer needs, and when corporate culture is based on environmental concerns, it is accepted by all company employees, regardless of their hierarchical level.
However, “green marketing” can be used irresponsibly by companies interested only in their image.
An example of this is found in cleaning and cosmetic products. Many companies may announce that they are “100 percent natural,” “energy efficient” or “organic” without a certificate or information that verifies what is stated on the label. Also, major companies in the oil and gas industries rely on the use of symbols and environmental colors as a strategy to minimize what could be bad images of their activities. They may even promote Earth Day (April 22) to disseminate its supposedly ‘green efforts.´ These false examples are commonly known as “greenwash.”
For this reason, companies must act responsibly when taking the decision to adopt green marketing. It is not just propaganda. It must be a compromise that involves all staff. Green marketing must be part of the corporate culture, its values and objectives.
On the other hand, as responsible consumers, we must commit to support companies that are already identified with this social responsibility. In order to make buying decisions based on the characteristics the products actually have, we must demand rigorous and reliable information about the product’s origin and manufacturing, as well as the environmental improvements achieved.
Daniel Fumero Lázaro interns at Visibility Marketing Inc. He resides in the Canary Islands.