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The Rise of Sustainable Marketing

Thanks to the pervasive influence of social media, there is increased scrutiny of marketing organizations in terms of where products are sourced, organizational practices that are followed, impact on the environment, etc. Increasingly, businesses are embracing policies that not only satisfy customer needs but also have a positive impact on society and the environment.

Consumers are more aware than ever before of where and how their products and services are produced. Many workplaces are now incentivized to practice sustainable marketing as a result of the trend for businesses to be more open about their business strategies and internal workings. However, some companies may use the term to enhance their brand appeal but do little in reality. For example, the term “Greenwashing” is sometimes used to describe companies that boast about their environment-friendly practices in marketing campaigns but do little in real life.

Sustainable marketing focuses on creating and marketing products that add value to customers while also reducing our carbon footprint. It places a strong emphasis on the consumers' position in the transaction. If a customer does not agree with how a company produces products, he or she may refuse to purchase the goods or even spread negative information about the company to their social circles. In general, there are multiple stakeholders in any business transaction. The stakeholders in a business that practices sustainable marketing are not only current customers but also potential customers in the future.

The term "sustainability" is therefore holistic and takes into account a whole range of issues including economic as well as non-economic aspects. For example, it emphasizes an environmentally friendly manufacturing process, adopting fair labor practices, using ethically sourced raw materials, and environmentally friendly packaging.

There are several instances where large corporations have adopted practices to adhere to “sustainable marketing.” For example, PepsiCo, which owns about two dozen major brands globally, has adopted sustainable marketing practices in a number of ways. Packaging of many of their major brands is now done exclusively using reusable and recyclable packing materials.

More details about PepsiCo’s sustainable marketing practices can be seen here:

Sustainable marketing initiatives are often designed to promote customers’ loyalty to a brand. However, it can also result in unintended consequences.

For example, Starbucks, which prides itself on being extremely socially conscious, wanted to reduce the number of straws used by consumers to produce "strawless lids" in order to reduce the effect of plastic on the environment. The strawless lids, on the other hand, needed to be stronger and contain thicker plastic than the previous straw and lid combination. Unfortunately, the plastic in these strawless lids will take longer to degrade, contributing to the growing plastic crisis. Attempts to support the environment that are well-intentioned are often thwarted by the same deception that makes people distrust marketing in the first place.

This does not imply that businesses should abandon their efforts to be sustainable, but rather that they should intensify their efforts. Aside from keeping their consumers satisfied, environmental initiatives have long-term benefits for businesses. For example, if you were to guess who was the most involved in the future of green energy, would you say mining companies? People who haven't studied the energy market or seen the forecasts are unlikely to believe it. Yet, those who work in the energy sector, on the other hand, are not as surprised.

Major mining companies around the world, including those in India and South Africa, have already made public announcements about their intention to concentrate on renewable energy sources. Coal has a grim future, despite being historically cheaper than other sources of energy. Aside from the fact that future generations will be unable to depend on natural resources for energy, the cost of these resources is a major disadvantage. Mining companies should turn to renewable energy efforts not only because of market pressure but also because of the reality of the situation and cost benefits.

Finally, when done correctly, sustainable marketing will benefit the whole community as well as the environment. A focus should be on keeping a critical eye on potential greenwashing strategies while also promoting future sustainability efforts. The implementation of sustainable marketing will be critical to the future of business models, and businesses that struggle to keep up with the times will perish.

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Tyler Scott
Tyler Scott
Oct 20, 2023

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