Green Marketing or Green Washing

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Green Marketing or Green Washing

In the competitive market place, companies will do anything to draw consumers attention towards their products or services. Today, many businesses are engaging in green marketing, the practice of promoting environmentally-safe products. Concerns are rapidly growing that some green marketing is just green washing. Companies are guilty of green washing when they mislead their buyers into thinking that their products are environmentally-friendly. They tend to hide the fact that their goods are mostly made up of harmful ingredients.

Green marketing is the promotion of various goods or services that are based on their environmental benefits. These products are said to be environmentally safe and have little to no negative impact on the external surroundings in which one lives. Many of these goods actually help the natural environment instead of harming it. Numerous writers have given various definition of what green marketing is.

According to Polonsky, green marketing
“consists of all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchanges intended to satisfy human needs or wants, such that the satisfaction of these needs and wants occurs, with minimal detrimental impact on the natural environment.”1 What Polonsky is saying is both the consumer and the environment are protected and neither one is being harmed. He is implying that green products should be referred to as “less environmentally harmful,” rather than being “environmentally friendly.” Stanton and Futrell stated that green marketing is,

“...all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchanges intended to satisfy human needs and wants; therefore it ensure that the interest of the organization and all its consumers are protected, as voluntary exchange will not take place unless the buyers and sellers are mutually benefited.”2 This definition is similar to what Polonsky had stated, however it does not mention anything about the protecting the natural environment. It is strictly for the satisfaction of the buyer and seller. Evidently, green marketing can cover a broad range of topics. It covers the way a business modifies its products, changes the process of production, the way the product is packaged, and the way it is advertised.

Most companies today believe that investing in environmentally preferable products and technologies can give them an advantage to their competitors. Practicing green marketing has drawn the attention of numerous policy makers and most importantly, the consumers. Although consumers are addressing their demand for more and more green products, businesses are questioning whether they are willing to pay at such a high price. Consumers direct the way a business markets and produces its product. Since they favor more and more green products and services, many companies are making significant changes in all activities.

In Table A-1 below, it is clear what percentage of Americans have different views on the environment. Concern of the environment influences nine percent of Americans more than any other social value. This group is mostly made up of older, educated, white Americans. They are ones who best represent the market for green products. 

Fortunately, only three percent of Americans have the weakest level of concern when it comes to the environment. Twenty-four percent of Americans are concerned about the environment, but life is too busy as majority are family-focused women. Although some Americans have an important perception on keeping the environment safe, most of the population choose not to be involved.

The approach to green marketing encourages the combination of all environmental issues with the activities of a corporation. It ranges from formulating and planning a strategy to producing the product and directing themselves with the consumers. Sellers begin to question how their company can remain competitive with others. According to Esty and Winston,...
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