Did you know that 49% of global respondents say they're inclined to pay higher-than-average prices for products with high-quality/safety standards, which consumers often associate with strong sustainability practices?
Additionally, consumers are willing to open their wallets for products that are organic (41%), made with sustainable materials (38%), or deliver on socially responsible claims (30%).
In fact, the U.S. sustainability market is on track to reach $150 billion in 2021.
That, in addition to it being better for the environment, is why several companies have gone or are going green in the future.
As marketers, if you work at a green company, all the sustainable things your company does should be marketed.
Today, let's learn more about green marketing, the best strategies to use, and some examples to inspire your own green marketing campaigns.
What is Green Marketing?
Green marketing is when a company focuses on the environmental and sustainable benefits of their product in their marketing assets. It's about the way the products are produced and made.
With green marketing, the products are usually made in a sustainable way, do not contain toxic materials, are produced with recycled or renewable materials, don't have excessive packaging, and are designed to be recycled.
When a company can make their products in a way that's eco-friendly, it shows that they're committed to sustainability and social responsibility. Plus, it helps with brand reputation. When you make your products in an environmentally friendly way, you can focus on green marketing to let everyone know that you're making an effort to help the environment.
Also, this could save you money in packaging and energy usage in the long run. While many companies don't go green because the upfront cost is usually more expensive, they might not realize that it'll generate savings in the long run.
However, it's important to note that you can't just market something as green if it's not. There are regulations and legal standards for green marketing.
Speaking of, let's dive into the differences between green marketing and greenwashing.
Green Marketing vs. Greenwashing
While green marketing aims to inform consumers about sustainable and eco-friendly products, greenwashing is when a company promotes green products that are not actually made sustainably. Greenwashing is essentially false advertising in the green marketing world.
Greenwashing will ultimately be damaging to a company's reputation because consumers will find out that the company or products are not as green as they're promoting them to be.
To be certain you're buying a green product, look for real certifications listed on the packaging. If you're a company and want to promote your sustainability, you need to get actual certification that you can place on your product and website.
Once you have real certifications (and know that you're truly trying to help the environment instead of going green for profits), then you can use these strategies to help your green marketing efforts.
Green Marketing Strategies
1. Get certified.
There are several third-party green business certifications that can help you market your sustainability practices.
To get certified, research the different certifications, including Green America, Green Business Certification Inc., or Green Seal.
Usually, you will need to meet a certain level of standards and send in an application. These certifications help substantiate your claims that you're a green business.
2. Advertise your green message.
Once you have the certification and you're the real deal, it's time to get the word out. You can write blogs, post about going green on your social media, add the certification stickers to your website, etc.
Promoting your sustainability efforts will help build your brand and customer loyalty from eco-conscious consumers.
3. Incorporate sustainability into your culture.
Don't just fall into the green marketing trap without really committing to the cause. You should incorporate green practices into your company culture. Every employee should know that you want to make things as eco-friendly as possible.
4. Support eco-friendly programs and initiatives.
When your company goes to donate to charity or support local programs and initiatives, make sure you choose ones that are green. It helps with your consistent brand message and it will support a cause you care about.
Expert Tips for Green Marketing
- Go paperless.
- Don't forget about your giveaway prizes.
- Make all your events green.
1. Go paperless.
One of the environment's nemeses is paper. A great way to go green is to reduce the amount of paper that you use.
Mike Volpe, CEO of Lola.com, says, "The response rate for most direct mail is 2%. That means that 98% of your direct mail is wasted. Plus, in addition to the environmental impact of the 50 pieces you send for every 1 lead, there is the impact of the trucks and other transportation used to move all that mail around. If your audience really cares about the environment, send them an email, and let them know that you are not using snail mail for marketing."
2. Don't forget about your giveaway prizes.
If you're ever running a giveaway, you might forget that you're a green company and want to support eco-friendly products. That would be a mistake. The prizes you give away should also support your mission of going green.
Volpe added, "If you want to engage with your market of environmentally conscious consumers, try changing your prizes to something they will actually care about. Perhaps a donation in their name to a global charity or purchase a parcel of rainforest to be protected in their name? If your market truly cares about the issue, this will be a great tool to provide more focus to your contest marketing efforts."
3. Make all your events green.
If you're throwing a brand event, it needs to be sustainable.
Robin Lickliter, a Chief Experience Officer at Brightest Sparks Marketing, says, "Consider LEED-certified buildings, provide incentives to use public transportation, and consider LED lighting."
These are great ways to keep your brand green even when you want to throw an event.
Green Marketing Examples
Starbucks is known as being a leader in sustainability. The company invests and donates money in several environmental programs. In fact, Starbucks committed over $140 million to the development of renewable energy sources.
Patagonia has made it known through green marketing that they support environmental activism.
On their site, they say "We're part of a movement for change. From supporting youth fighting against oil drilling to suing the president, we take action on the most pressing environmental issues facing our world. Connect with environmental groups through Patagonia Action Works and take action to protect people and the planet."
3. Ben and Jerry's
Ben and Jerry's actively markets the social issues that the company cares about through their website on their Values page. They regularly write blogs and discuss why it's important to commit to environmentally friendly business practices.
With green marketing, you can let your target audience know that you care about the same issues they do. You can improve your brand reputation, while also investing and donating to a cause that you care about.