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Green Marketing: The Way Ahead

The emergence of Green Marketing has struck India as in other parts of the developing and developed countries. It started as a new revolution in India in the late 1990s. Since then, a radical change in consumer preferences and lifestyles in the past few decades due to it. Consumers’ behaviour and thought process towards a green lifestyle has changed a lot. To tap in more consumers, more and more companies are taking up green marketing.

The transition from Traditional marketing to Green marketing has brought upon newer challenges on the companies. Nevertheless, green marketing has brought a change in consumer attitudes and the desire of the companies and organizations to gain an edge in the competitive market through the exploitation of the green market industry. Initiatives taken up by few selected companies towards green marketing in India are discussed in this study.

Though their initiatives are different, the goals are similar and the initiatives have resulted in a competitive advantage for these organizations. The study gives an overview of the green marketing concept, discusses its advantages and the problems associated with it and discusses its practices in India.

What is Green Marketing?

Promotional activities aimed at taking advantage of changing consumer attitudes towards a brand. These changes are increasingly being influenced by firms’ policies and practices that affect the quality of the environment and reflect the level of its concern for the community.[1] Mr. J. Polonsky defined green marketing as - "All activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchange intended to satisfy human needs or wants such that satisfying of their needs and wants occur with minimal detrimental input on the national environment."[2]

In simpler words the process of manufacturing selling products or services that are eco-friendly is called green marketing. Those products or services can either be environmentally friendly or produced in some environment-friendly way, including:
Products produced or services provided in a sustainable fashion
Products that don’t contain any toxic materials
Products that are made from renewable or eco-friendly materials (for instance bamboo, coconut bark, cotton, etc.)
Products whose manufacturing doesn’t exploit or harm the environmental resources

  • Products that have eco-friendly packaging
  • Products that are not tested on animals
  • Products made from chemicals that have been approved
  • Products that are reusable and bio-degradable

History and Evolution of Green Marketing
. The first wave of green marketing came in the 1980s. The substantial point of reference for the principal wave of green marketing came in the form of books which were called Green Marketing. They were by authored by Ken Pattie (1992) in England and by Jacquelyn Ottman (1993) in the United States of America.

As indicated Ken by Pattie (2001), the development of green marketing had three stages.

  • To start with, the first stage was called the "Ecological" green marketing, and all the marketing activities amid this period dealt with helping to solve environmental problems and give remedies for these environmental problems.
  • The stage that was called the stage of "Environmental" green marketing was the second stage. Clean technology, involving designing of new and innovative products that could take care of contamination and wastage problems were the areas that were emphasized upon.
  • The stage that was called the stage of "Sustainable" green marketing, was the third stage. In the late 1990s and early 2000, it became a force to be reckoned. It dealt with developing great quality items that could meet the consumers’ demands by concentrating on the quality, performance, cost price, ease of availability and convenience in an eco-friendly way.

Literature Review:

  1. Madhumita, G.& Sara. (2014) gave a brief outlook of green marketing, how it works and its avenue in India.
  2. Prothero, A. (1998) introduced several papers that were discussed in the July 1998 issue of 'Journal of Marketing Management' which focused on green marketing.
  3. Jain, S.K. & Kaur, G. (2004) discussed that business firms too have risen to the occasion and have started responding to environmental challenges by practicing green marketing strategies.
  4. Chauhan, H.P.S. (2015) talked about sustainable development as per the “Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development” by UNO. He talked about the keys of success in green marketing, its advantages and problems associated with it.
  5. Tiwari, J.(2014) talked about green marketing being a tool for protecting the environment for future generation.


Green marketing is the need of the hour. For mankind to survive, sustainable development has to be carried out and green marketing is one of the most important features of sustainable development. The study is exploratory in nature to provide clear guidance. The doctrinal methodology of research has been followed. Books, research journals, government reports and websites were used as sources of data.


Why Organizations Are Taking Up Green Marketing?

  1. Opportunity - About 25% of the consumers in India, prefer eco-friendly products over non-eco friendly ones & about 28% might be considered health-conscious. Many companies and organizations see this as an opportunity to use and have an upper hand over the companies and organizations that haven’t taken up green marketing. For instance,
    Clamshell packaging was replaced by waxed paper due to increasing customer concern relating to polystyrene production and Ozone by McDonald’s.
  2. Corporate Social Responsibility - Organizations have started realizing that they too are members of the society and need to act in an environmentally responsible manner and many are seeing this as an opportunity to cash in more customers. Organizations in these kinds of situation have two options- (i) Making use of the fact that they are environmentally responsible as a marketing tool or (ii) Becoming responsible without the promotion of these facts for the betterment of the environment and society.
    For instance,
    Body Shop was established specifically to offer consumers environmentally responsible alternatives to conventional cosmetic products. This philosophy is directly tied to the overall corporate culture, rather than simply being a competitive tool.
  3. Competitive Pressure- Another significant power in the green marketing region is the desire of the companies and organizations wanting to keep up their competitive position. Companies watch their contenders advancing their environmental behaviour and practices and endeavour to imitate this conduct in a plethora of cases. This aggressive pressure has caused complete industries to alter and consequently lessen its adverse ecological conduct in a few cases. For instance, Revive 100% Recycled paper was introduced some years ago which was an attempt to introduce recycled photocopier paper by Xerox which made other manufacturers make them too.
  4. Issues regarding cost and profit- Companies and organizations can use green marketing as a tool for addressing cost and profit related issues. Companies and organizations that can lessen their harmful wastes can save a substantial amount of money.
  5. Pressure from Governments- Governments want to look after the consumers and society with all the activities related to marketing. Regulations given by the government relating to green marketing are designed to save customers in a lot of manners.

Problems with Green Marketing

  1. Green Spinning- Some business companies and organizations often try to respond to environmental challenges and issues through presentation of their own version of facts by means of their public relation efforts instead of environmentally improving the product. These kinds of practices and activities end up adding to the stock of confusion that already exists in the market and lowers down the integrity of genuine claims made by other companies and organizations.

  2. Green Selling- Organizations keep on producing for all intents and purposes a similar item, however, they include some "new" environmental advantages in their advancement battles to exploit the increasing customer base in the environment. Green marketing endeavours with respect to the organizations stay concerned just with promotional activity, without any effort to create items which are genuinely green when it is practised in this form.

  3. Green Harvesting: Green marketing can lead to a decrease in the production cost of a product. Numerous organizations and companies get tempted by and opt to take up green marketing and harvest the market. They sell their products at higher prices even when their production cost is low to earn more profit and when these organizations and companies really have to take a step towards the sustainable development, they retreat and become hesitant as it would result in the depreciation in the levels of their profit.

  4. Compliance Marketing- Organizations and companies following this strategy are the ones who take up only those environmental initiatives that are the ones imposed on them through regulations by the government. The compliance of these companies and organizations with environmental laws is just to make their products more famous in the market. They don’t care about green issues.

  5. Green Washing- Greenwashing is the overstating of the environmentally or socially conscious attributes of a firm’s offering and the understating of the negative attributes for the firm’s benefit.[3] This is taken up as an opportunity for earning short-term profits rather than as a market opportunity by a plethora of companies. This is how companies and organizations create consumer distrust in green marketing efforts when they adopt or make false or misleading environmental claims.

Traditional Marketing Vs Green Marketing

Traditional Marketing Green Marketing
1. Customer satisfaction
2. Organizational goals
1. Customer satisfaction
2. Organizational goals
3. Ecosystem compatibility
Decision-making Frame of Reference
1. Fragmented thinking
2. Non-boundary spanning
3. Short term orientation
Decision-making Frame of Reference
1. Integrated thinking
2. Boundary spanning
3. Long term orientation
Philosophical basis
1. Anthropocentric
2. Ecosystem an open sink
Philosophical basis
1. Biocentric
2. Ecosystem a physical limiting factor, eco cost must be paid
General tools/approaches
1. Use planning to minimize cost of local waste disposal
2. Reactive approach to waste management
3. Focus on industrial functions
4. Total quality management
General tools/approaches
1. Use life cycle assessment and environmental audits to minimize and redirect waste management
2. Proactive approach to waste management
3. Focus on industrial processes
4. Total quality environmental management
Ecological Accountability/Responsibility
1. Limited product risk
2. Local/Regional/National
3. No/underpaid ecological costs
Ecological Accountability/Responsibility
1. Product risk
2. Global/International
3. Full accounting of ecological costs

Source: Donald A. Fuller, Sustainable Marketing: Managerial-Ecological

Green Initiatives In India

  1. HCL Technologies
    HCL Technologies has come up with a plan known as HCL’s Ecosafe to identify, develop and sustain the maintenance of an environmental management system at the corporate level. Encapsulation of knowledge, awareness and key advancements on all environmental issues confronted by the present world and to fusing these in HCL's operations guaranteeing their dedication in delivering quality products, solutions and services is the ultimate goal of this objective. Integrating environmental management procedures into its business processes and in this manner ensuring the earth, wellbeing and security of every one of its partners is the main objected under HCL Ecosafe. HCL resolves to make items that are environment-friendly in all regards and free from dangerous chemicals. Successfully carrying out product lifecycle management to ensure that the products, from when they are produced, purchased by consumers, recovered at their end-of-life and recycled after useful life are done in a responsible manner is the key objective on which HCL EcoSafe concentrates on. Hence, HCL Technologies can be considered as the icon of India’s green initiatives.

  2. Lead Free Paints from Kansai Nerolac
    Activities for Removal of hazardous and dangerous heavy metals from their paints have been carried out by Kensai Nerolac. These hazardous heavy metals can have adverse effects on humans. Some of these heavy metals are lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic and antimony. Paints containing lead pose danger to human health as the Central Nervous System, kidney and reproductive system can be severely damaged by it. Kids are very vulnerable to lead poisoning which can lead to lower intelligence levels in kids and even memory loss in some cases. Nerolac Impressions Eco Clean has been introduced by Kansai Nerolac. This is an eco-friendly paint. has low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Volatile Organic Compounds in paint affect the water, soil and outdoor as well as the indoor air. They pollute it. This can cause respiratory problems and irritation and redness in the eyes. Nerolac has taken a rational step and led the industry by introducing low VOC paint and creating awareness about Lead-free goods in India.

  3. Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC)
    Oil and Natural Gas Company, the largest producer of oil in India, is good to go to lead the rundown of best 10 Indian organizations that have taken up green marketing with energy-efficient, green crematoriums that will soon supplant the conventional wooden fire across the nation. ONGC‟s 60 to 70% of wood and a fourth of the consuming time per incineration will be saved by following Mokshada Green Cremation activity brought to light by ONGC.

  4. ITC
    One of India’s biggest conglomerate ITC has been strengthening its commitment to green technologies through introducing ‘ozone-treated elemental chlorine-free’ bleaching technologies for the first time in India. Additionally, ITC has also been very active in green marketing in the past decades. ITC has been ‘green positive’ for three years in a row. ITC is recycling nearly 100 percent of the solid waste it is producing. And it has been declared to be ‘water positive’ i.e., ITC has been into harvesting rainwater harvesting thereby creating three times more water than the net water it is consuming. ITC also conforms to all international environmental, health standards. ITC’s business creates 5 million employment opportunities. ITC has set up e-choupal initiative which is considered to be the world’s largest rural digital infrastructure through which 4 million farming families are benefiting. ITC’s watershed development initiative brings water to nearly 35000 hectares of dry lands and moist stressed areas.

    ITC’s social and farm forestry initiative has led to the development of over 80000 hectares of green lands and thereby creating an estimated 35 million person-days of employment among the disadvantaged. ITC also follows sustainable community development initiatives which include women empowerment, supplementary education, integrated animal husbandry programmes. ITC has introduced papercraft, a premium range of eco-friendly business paper. ITC takes up to social forestry for its paper and packaging business as a part of its green initiative. The result of the green initiative of ITC has led to a new range of top green products and solutions which are the environment-friendly multipurpose papers that is less polluting than its traditional counterpart.

  5. Suzlon Energy
    Suzlon energy is the world’s fourth-largest wind-turbine maker is among the greenest and the best Indian companies in India the visionary behind Suzlon is tulsi tanti has convinced the world that wind is the energy of the future and established his factory in Puducherry to run entirely on wind power. It makes up to thirty percent of the renewable energy in India thereby making it one of the biggest companies that reduce the carbon footprint in the world. Suzlon’s corporate building is the most energy-efficient building ever built in India.

  6. Wipro
    Wipro is an Indian information technology service corporation which also demerged its businesses into separate companies. It is the first Indian company to launch environment friendly peripherals. Wipro has launched a new range of laptops and desktops called Wipro greenware which are ROHS[restriction of hazardous substances] thereby reducing e-waste in the environment. It was the first company in India who developed eco-sustainability in the form of energy, water efficiency and waste management. It is actively seeking to be a green company. Its main initiatives to be a green company is being achieved through achieving its objectives of becoming carbon neutral, water positive and energy saving in the business organization. It designs products to minimize hazardous waste. Wipro has reduced its per capita electricity consumption and procured renewable energy. Wipro buildings conform to various international green standards.

  7. Godrej
    Godrej is one of the biggest Indian conglomerate which caters to the needs of various groups of people in India. Godrej set up Godrej green centre which claims to be energy, water and construction material-efficient thereby reducing the impact on human health and the environment through better design, construction, operation, maintenance and waste disposal. Godrej green buildings created the momentum for the change in the Indian construction industry.

Today, consumers are much more concerned about climatic changes. There is a radical change in consumer preferences and lifestyles. Due to this shift from traditional marketing to green marketing, now companies are facing many new challenges. So, if today's successful marketing is about appealing to personal values and delivering consumer empowerment, then surely the time is right to inject sustainable development into the marketing mix to help address some of the gritty issues currently facing our planet.

Green marketing methods produce highly effective results. Agencies need to apply all of the steps to cut costs, raise response rates and increase growth in their marketing policies. Green marketing should not neglect the economic aspect of marketing. Marketers need to understand the implications of green marketing.


  1. Madhumita, G.& Sara. (2014). Green Marketing – Companies Urging Towards Green Revolution. Asia Pacific Journal of Research, Vol: I, Issue XIII.
  2. Prasad, V.V.S.K Green Marketing Initiatives by Indian Corporate Sector - A Study,
  3. Srivastava, M.(2013) Green Marketing: The innovative mantra of marketing,
  4. Chauhan, H.P.S. (2015). Green Marketing Initiatives In India: An Overview,
  5. Tiwari, J. Green marketing in India: An Overview,
  6. Polonsky, M. J.(1994)
  11. green marketing. Retrieved September 04, 2017, from website:
  12. green marketing. Retrieved September 04, 2017, from website:

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