Green marketing is an opportunity for your business to do the right thing and be rewarded for it.
Green Products and Services
Green marketing has two main aspects. The first is that it puts environmental considerations first when it comes to creating and selling products and services. For example, a lot of people use laundry services and dry cleaners. A green version of a laundromat would use cold water washing, water-efficient machines, gentle detergents, and energy-efficient washer and dryers. Some might even be solar powered.
A green dry cleaner would use fewer harsh chemicals that would have less of an impact on the environment, while still getting the job done. They would use less plastic and paper to wrap up the clothes and give customers incentives for bringing back the wire hangers so they don’t end up in the garbage, and therefore in landfills all over the country.
Green Marketing Methods
Green marketing can also be about ensuring that all of your marketing efforts are green and have a low impact upon the environment. For example, choosing whether to produce your sales materials on paper or digitally can have a huge impact on the environment, as well as on your bottom line.
If you decide you absolutely have to have a printed piece, your choice of paper and ink can also have a significant impact on the environment. Using recycled non-glossy paper and soy ink will make a huge difference compared to new paper that is coated (shiny) and has chemical-based inks.
If you are selling tangible goods, your choice of packaging will also have a significant impact. Again, paper and ink will affect how recyclable the packaging will be. If you use plastic, choosing a recyclable plastic can make all the difference between it being repurposed, or filling up landfills all over the world.
Even the day-to-day decisions in the office as you run your green business can have a significant impact on the environment. Do your colleagues hit the print button all the time without thinking? Or do you aim for a paperless office with good back-up on both hard drives and cloud storage?
Do you use paper cups and disposable plastic coffee pods? Or mugs and a standard coffee machine with a reusable stainless steel filter? If the latter, do you use the coffee grounds for mulch in your office plants or your own garden?
Which cleaning products do you buy for the office? Bottle after bottle? Or the small containers you use to refill the bottle and just add water? Are they green cleaner without harsh chemicals? Or heavy-duty ones that pollute the environment and even cause allergic reactions?
Once you enter the realm of green marketing, you will find that it connects with other ethical considerations and personal values. For example, green marketers will often source raw materials or buy wholesale from "fair trade" co-operatives and small businesses.
As the name suggests, fair trade means that the suppliers, such as coffee farmers, are paid a fair wage for their produce, not forced to live on a poverty-level wage. Coffee, tea, and cocoa are just a few of the items you might have in your office kitchen. Fair trade clothing, jewelry and furniture might all be part of your shopping site.
Green is a mindset and certain values you can share with your customers. Green marketing is therefore not just about selling, but is a way of life. Becoming more aware of green issues can be a path to greater profits once you start putting the planet first. Take a 360-degree look at your entire business and see if green marketing is for you.