“Air pollution impact on health worse than thought” – The Weekend Leader
“Cut air pollution to fight climate change -UN” -BBC News
“UN Climate Report says ‘Destructive’ Global Warming Will Result From Unchecked Emissions” -Forbes
These are just a few of the headlines swarming our newsfeed daily. Growing concern about the deteriorating environment and increase in awareness are just few of the factors contributing to the rise of a new customer type. The Eco-warriors or the “LOHAS” (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). To cater to this increasingly self-aware demographic, organizations are adopting the “Green Marketing” strategy.
Green marketing can be defined as marketing efforts where the focus is on sustainability and environmental effects of the product/service. This can be in the very design of the product or its packaging or having an ecofriendly practice and choosing to highlight the sustainability in their business communication. Marketing has evolved greatly over the years, from product and brand centric there is a shift towards societal becoming the most poignant strategy. Societal marketing emphasizes on the holistic impact of the brand. How they give back to the community they operate in. Green marketing is an offshoot of this broad category itself. While societal marketing is about the community in general, green marketing highlights on what the brand is doing for the environment or the ecosystem.
When initially introduced, green marketing was all about having a green product or service and using that as a differentiator in the industry. Today this concept has evolved much more. Government regulations, increasing awareness and emphasis on corporate social responsibility have all factored in on making this concept a necessity rather than a choice. Migrating to sustainable marketing can prove to be a herculean task for organizations which have been around for long. Especially since this requires making major changes to processes which might even require completely replacing the technology used. Startups today have an edge in this aspect as they can align themselves towards this endeavor from the very beginning. Some of the starting steps with which ventures can build upon their sustainable efforts are:
- Developing a sustainable business vision:
Vision and mission is central to all organizational functions. Keeping sustainability in mind, the business vision and mission should be reworked to incorporate sustainability. If done right, all business activities can be aligned to meet sustainability needs.
- Making their internal processes green:
This can be as basic as being paperless. Bank of America for instance went almost entirely paperless by the year 2018. Choosing to offer their clients e-statements and paper free transfers as well as communicating with employees on online platforms instead of internal memos. It did not happen overnight though, they systematically reduced paper consumption over a duration of five years. They even introduced a dedicated team to track paper usage in the organization and come with innovative ways to reduce the same.
- Awareness programs for the workforce:
For an organization to transition into sustainable processes, it is imperative that their workforce is trained to be more conscious while they work. Training programs to condition them to contribute to the transitioning phase can go a long way in reducing waste and empowering them to come up with innovation solutions to make the processes greener as well. Having an environmentally conscious workforce would also enhance the image of the brand becoming green in the market.
These steps are by no means comprehensive when it comes to going green, but it does help the brand initiate sustainability. In present times, brands must focus on their contribution to the betterment of the ecosystem around. Simply highlighting their offerings just can’t cut it anymore due to the increasing competition in the market, being environment friendly has become quite a significant differentiator. It can be daunting to break out of the comfort zone to change the way the organization has been functioning, however, integrating sustainability in the very beginning of the organizational growth can give one an edge and the time to start the process is now.