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Green Consumerism

Green Consumerism

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Published by dipinmathur

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Published by: dipinmathur on Jun 06, 2012
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03/12/2013

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The idea of green consumerism is very much important in this decade to popularize among allsections of society to save the planet Earth. World over, economic development has come at thecost of environment only. Global warming, an outcome of greenhouse gas emission, is the pricethe world pays for its over ambitious growth. It is a movement to encourage people to buy foodand other products such as organic food, lead-free petrol etc. which are considered asenvironmental friendly. It refers to recycling, purchasing and using eco-friendly products thatminimize damage to the environment. The root of green consumerism was in 1987, when a
British Company called the Body Shop won the UK “Company of the Year” Business Enterprise
Awards. The Body Shop was then
“riding high on a wave of green consumerism’ as an outlet for “Cruelty – 
free, minimally packaged, natural ingredient soaps. It was expanding at the rate of 20new outlets a year and its extraordinary success helped to inspire several authors to write aboutgreen economics and green consumerism. It was around that time when Margaret Thatcherdeclared herself as green. As green consumerism germinated in early 1989, the popular mediarushed to inform the public about their new responsibility to consume green or environmentalfriendly product.More and more business and industries are joining in the green movement, either out of a realinterest in saving the planet or a desire to capitalize on the growing consumer demand forgreener ways. In India, though consumerism is gaining momentum after 1991, when India threwher doors open to international trade, and the situation changed dramatically and so didconsumerism in India, but green consumerism is not getting due priority, so it is growing in veryslow pace.As a majority of Indian consumers are comparatively poor, their choice of products is naturallychiefly influenced by price. Other issues, such as environmental impact, play little role in theirchoice of products. As environmentally friendly products usually cost more, only consumerswith higher purchasing power are willing to pay the premium price because of their concern forenvironment.Government, business organizations and consumers are triad for green consumerism in India.Government of India has already taken initiative by imposing many rules and regulationsregarding environmental preservation across the country, like imposing the use of CNG busesand auto rickshaws in cities like Delhi, Ahmadabad etc. to curb pollution. This calls forautomobile makers to stick to the environmental norms and also come up with some newinnovative technologies, which are environmental friendly. The manufacture, sale and use of recycled plastic bags for storing, carrying or packaging food items has been banned in Keralaand a few other states like Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh including Meghalaya alsohas banned the use of polythene bags. The Government of India has also launched the Eco-labeling scheme known as Eco- Marks. The Scheme was launched with a view to provide anincentive for manufacturers and importers to reduce the detrimental impact of the products, assistconsumers to become environmental friendly in their daily lives. However it is unfortunate thatnot a single product in the Indian market bears an Eco-Mark (R. Marvin M, 2012).Many business organization mainly in corporate sector have started incorporating green activitieshowever these activities are done as a part of either a corporate social responsibility or as a partof corporate sustainability. Royal Dutch Shell operated LNG Plant in Hazira which is one of the
 
company’s largest ventures in India is completely a green business. Hero Honda has been
consistently been working towards the elimination of harmful substances such as asbestos andhexavalent chromium from its products. JK Tyres developed eco-friendly tyres and launchedthem on the world environment day on June 5, 2002.Government and business organizations have already started their initiatives in the greeningprocess. In India, a very few consumers are green conscious. They seek green goods likeayurvedic medicines, natural dyes, natural textiles, bio-fertilizer, bio-pesticides, organic foods,herbal cosmetics etc. The demand and knowledge about green products and services is very lessamong the Indian consumers. It is also believed that whatsoever little demand exists in themarket exists out of the reason of the economy that it provides and not out of the environmentfriendliness of the consumer (Tikoo, 1998).Considering the bad impacts on environment, environmentalism is a major concern and firms areforced to adopt environmentally friendly market practices such as developing and marketingproducts which are recyclable, more fuel efficient, less polluting, bio-degradable and reusable.
Government and NGO’s have to play an important role on marketing green ideas more
intensively to make people more aware and knowledgeable about environmental issues andproblems, so that there will be a new breed of green minded consumers to keep themselveshealthy as well as there will be a great contribution to preserve our planet healthy for our nextgenerations.
Green consumerism creates a balance between the expectations of consumer behaviour andbusinesses' profit motives - within the orbit of environmental protection. It is increasinglycalls upon to look at the entire life cycle of a consumer's purchases - because a consumerdoes not just buys 'a' product, but also everything that went into its production, andeverything that will happen in the future as a result of that product.We need to realize that all products have an environmental impact, however small. Theconcept of green consumers also focusses on businesses, and their survivability as theyrespond quickly to demands of consumers for products and services that are alsoenvironmentally friendly
A Quick Introduction to Green Consumerism
Green consumerism creates a balance between the expectations of consumer behaviour andbusinesses' profit motives. Points to be noted:
 
Markets don't wait for slow movers. Businesses that innovate and respond quickly toconsumer demands survive best.
 
Everyone has a part to play, at various levels of administration, manufacture and use.
 
A consumer has to realize that he/she not just buys 'a' product, but everything that
 
went into its production, and everything that will happen in the future as a result of that product.
 
All products have an environmental impact, however small. The idea is to reduce it tothe minimum.
" ... even green products havean environmental impact"
 
"A 'cradle-to-grave' approachshould be used to understandgreen products"
 
"The greenest option: don'tbuy!"
 
Key impacts of green products:
 
Consumers have been asking for green products, ie there has been a clear raise indemand for such products.
 
Businesses have looked into the green process - generating corporate environmentalprofiles, monitoring and evaluating green performance, and improving corporateimage as a result.
 
Green products have also increased competition among businesses to generate moreenvironmentally friendly products.
 
Ecolabelling networks that monitor and evaluate green products have been developedin many countries. These networks have done life cycle analyses to understand theimpact of products.
 
Governments have also taken several measures that have supported and facilitatedsuch moves by businesses.
"Life Choices: Greenconsumerism is not just whatwe buy, but also how we
live 
"
 
"The triple bottom line:economically viable,environmentally sound, andsocially responsible"
 
"Consumer is a change agentand is
proactive 
"
 
Key issues for the future include:
 
Health:
A sentary lifestyle combined with health impacts of environmental pollutionand emissions, use and abuse of pesticides, anti-biotics etc.
 
Population and consumption:
Population increases, aging populations,consumption patterns - living beyond means, etc.
 
Globalization:
Transboundary effect and free trade have both advantages(efficiency, profits, opportunities, demand) and disadvantages (unemployment,footloose companies, weaker controls, unfair trade, small scale loses out) etc.
 
Energy:
Every source of energy has an environmental impact. Energy efficiency isnot just technology, but also cutting back. There are enough cars to create a six-lanetraffic jam to the moon.
 
Water:
Water use is increasing at twice the rate of population increase. Much can bedone at the individual level.
 
Chemicals:
Use of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals. PCB?DDT has beenfound in mother's milk too! Ozone depleting chemicals, hormone-disrupting chemicalshave
long
term effects on human health and well-being.
 
Genetic engineering:
Includes many ethical and moral issues, includingmisinformation. Not that genetic engineering is bad - but the consumer should be

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