An additional negative aspect can occur when a seemingly green product really isn't, in the long run.
As an example, one of the most successful 'green' vehicles is the Toyota Prius. The hybrid Prius has become the status symbol for all of those wishing to flaunt their environmental conscience. However, the vehicle isn't nearly as eco-friendly as the Green Marketing campaigns lead consumers to believe. The nickel metal hydride battery the Prius uses is the primary culprit. The nickel is mined in Sudbury, Ontario, smelted nearby, shipped to Wales to be refined, then sent to China to be processed into nickel foam. From there, it goes to Japan to become a battery, before it's placed into a car and shipped to its final destination, like the U.S. The global transportation of the manufacture of the battery uses a lot of fossil fuel. Goodwin cites CNW Marketing as noting the combined energy for the entire lifecycle of the Prius is $2.87 per lifetime mile, while an H3 Hummer is only $2.07 a lifetime mile. He concludes with noting that there is then the environmental issue of disposing of the used battery. Yet, Green Marketing of the Prius has environmental-conscious consumers flocking to Toyota dealers, which highlights one of the current trends.
Current Trends in Green Marketing:
The current trends in Green Marketing involve increased product innovation and a recent desire for consumers to display to the world that they care about the environment. "There is a $230 billion marketplace that exists for products and services that meet the needs of consumers who buy based on their personal, social and environmental values. This marketplace is predicted to grow to $845 billion by 2015" ("The Effects"). Innovations from packaging to increased recycled content to more Earth-friendly products like CFL light bulbs are constantly being added to the marketplace and expanding consumers' opportunities. This increasing demand is breathing life back into Green Marketing campaigns.
Companies in industries as different as soap to pillows to coffee to automobiles are implementing Green Marketing programs. It's now cool to go green and consumers want to let the world know they're doing their part. From the identifiable Prius to reusable shopping bags, not only do consumers In fact, Chen (2009) argues that eco-friendly purchases are motivated more by social status than concern for the environment. Chen cites a recent study that found that despite the popularity of green products, like the Prius, "non-green luxury products were preferred to their equally priced green counterparts when people weren't focused on status, but once status became a concern -- even subconsciously -- people became more likely to go green" (12). Citing Tybur, Chen concludes that purchasing green products, especially those that cost more, like the Prius, boosts social status by letting the world know that not only can the consumer afford to pay more for a product, but that they are willing to sacrifice their personal comfort for the greater good. Businesses can still use this trend to make a profit while going green ("Making Green").
Businesses may face many challenges within a highly competitive global economy, but as consumer awareness of eco-friendly, cost-efficient products and lifestyles become increasingly popular, business is striving to meet the challenge. Green Marketing focuses on promoting the environmentally friendly aspects of a product or service, or the processes that go into the product or service, to create a competitive advantage. The concept took hold in the late 1980s, but floundered in the 1990s as demand for green products didn't match the concern for the environment. Today, Green Marketing addresses both the concerns of individual consumers and organizations, as environmental awareness is once again on the rise. Although there are a variety of benefits that are a result of Green Marketing, such as enhancing a brand's image, confusion and deception can occur in the process. However, despite the increasing demand for green products, the current trend may be based more on social status than on actual concern for the environment.
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