You are on page 1of 9

----------------------- Page 1----------------------European Journal of Social Sciences Volume 19, Number 4 (2011) The Role of Social Responsibility in Green

n Marketing & Its Effects Health & Environment in Iran Hosein Vazifehdust Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran , Iran E-mail: Tel: +98-21-44869660; Fax: +98-21-44869705 Amin Asadollahi Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran , Iran E-mail: Abstract Perhaps no one would have believed that one day, marketing was going to f ocus its concern on the health of the consumers as well as being geared towards sales and profits. The dynamism, fierce competition, and the increasing concern about the environ ment and also the governments rules and regulations and the consumers awareness about this issue were all contributing factors for the company to contemplate on the physical an d mental health of the individuals and the clean environment. Concepts like Green Marketing, Environmental and Social Marketing gradually entered into the literature o f marketing in order to fulfill its social responsibilities. In this article, we have initially attempted to d escribe what we mean by Social Responsibility, and to explain its relation to green marketing. In the sec ond step, we have explained a closer look at the issues of living environment, green marketi ng. Finally, we use the above mentioned social responsibility, and the concepts as tools i n implementing the green marketing concept in some of Irans industries. l Keywords: Green Marketing, Green Consumer, Responsibility, Living Environment, Government Rules and Regulations Socia

1. Introduction It seems that these days, every product has a social reason behind it. At the mo ment, marketing is one of the most important activities of the companies due to social and environmenta l considerations. In the first part of the 80s, marketing took into account the social and environmental c onsiderations which made it very popular (Kotler and Armstrong, 1999). One of the field of marketing which has created many debates in the media is green marketing. It seems that every consumers, whe ther an individual or industrial bodies, have become more aware, and more interested

in the environmental issues. In the study carried out by Atman in 16 countries, in 1992, over 50% of the consumers h ave expressed their interests and concerns over the environmental issues. In the study that was made in Australia, in 1994, the conclusion was that 84% of people believed that they had responsibilities to wards the environment. They said that they have modified their behaviours towards shopping because of t heir concern over the environmental issues (Polansky). Green Marketing which is also called Sustainable Marketing is an intere sting process which has started with retailers in the developing countries. Kateb and Helssen explain that green marketing would reinforce the governments policies (Kateb and Helssen, 2004 ). Bowie and Seal believe that 538 ----------------------- Page 2----------------------European Journal of Social Sciences V olume 19, Number 4 (2011) social values like other marketing environment elements change over time. Thus, in order to ensure the success, the marketers and their products they offer should reflect the change t hat has already taken place in the society. In 1989, a survey carried out in the USA shows 49% of peop le has changed their shopping behaviour due to the environment (Barry, and Seal, 1992). The Australia n Statistical Office also carried out a survey on 16000 people, and shows 75% o f them expressed concern over the environment (Baker, 1996). Consumers are rethinking the products they buy by they take the environment into considerations. Today, many consumers are willing to pay more f or those products which are produced in accordance with environmental friendly standards. The above statistics show that the environmental health is one of the m ost important criteria that consumers take into account when they shop; this has resulted in the enviro nmental issues to enter into the marketing concepts and the concept of Green Marketing has emerged. We, first, explain what is meant by Social Responsibility and secondly, we discuss the concept of Green Marketing and its relevant issues, and finally, we turn our attention to the im plementation strategies of the green marketing in the Iranian market. 2. Social Responsibility There was a time when the producers and organizations had responsibilities only towards shareholders or their responsibilities went as far as producing the best products having high qualities and low prices. The fact that these products may have adverse effects was se condary to them. Fierce competition, increase in populations, low resources, and environmental pollutio ns led to the new approach being

adopted in the management sector in which being committed and having social resp onsibilities were the result of it. Perhaps it could be said that the emergence of social responsi bility was a response to the environmental requirements and challenges. Graham and Ketra believe that having support for the environment is by no means voluntarily but it is a significant part of a business process (Graham & Ketra, 2002). The s ocial responsibility is an approach which is focused on the customers and it takes into account the environ mental problems, and its long term welfare. Stewart & Salmon define Social Responsibility as follow: It is a method of management which the organizations are involved in those activities that have po sitive effects on the society and will promote the products (Stewart & Salmon, 1997). In fact, Stewart and Salmons approach aims at eradi cating the negative effects of the organization on the society followed by changes occurring in t he attitudes and behaviours of the consumers. while others have gone beyond it and believe that organizations are responsible for the promotion of the social welfare, Serto & Griff hold such a view. Kent Hutton and Mary Hutton believe that the indifference attitude adopted towards the foreign compan ies by some manufactures causes problems for the consumers (Amini, 2000). The business ethics imposes on the companies to be awa re of how their activities can affect others benefits (Sigmund & domico, 2001). It is an over simplification to say tha t social responsibility is all about environmental issues; it has had far greater impact on the marketin g mix than it originally envisaged, resulting in the marketing to make adjustments accordingly. Bowie and Seal hold the view that the tools needed to be used in social responsibility are packaging, promoti ons, personal sales, and services which the marketers should determine them in view of the potential prof its and social welfare (Bowie & Seal, 1992). Social responsibility is a method that the competitors adopt in response to their customers demand to produce suitable products and event to set the pri ces in such a manner that it is both profitable to the producers and, at the same time, reasonable to the customers. Social responsibility transcends the positive environmental approach since it tak es into account every angles of the consumers consumption. In this approach, not only the environment and eco system but the physical and mental health of the consumers and even the increase in populations are take n into considerations. 539 ----------------------- Page 3----------------------European Journal of Social Sciences Volume 19, Number 4 (2011) Social responsibility in marketing means to give an appropriate direction to the

consumers taste which in turn requires a long term plan. Social responsibility deals with 4 main categories: consumer approach, social relations, green marketing and varieties (Pride & Firel, 1995). We shall discus s the green marketing as one of the dimensions of the social responsibility. 3. Green Marketing Unfortunately, most people believe that green marketing exclusively deals with t he promotion of those products which has taken the environmental specifications i nto considerations. Those terms like phosphate free, recyclable, ozone friendly are all considered by the consumers to be related to the green marketing while these terms are only symbols of green marketing. Green mar keting is much a broader concept which can be implemented in the consumption, industrial and even service products (Polansky). Green marketing is the term applicable to the price development and promotions and product distributions which do not harm the environment (Pride & Firl, 1995). Salmon and Stewart define green marketing as marketing strategies which thr ough establishment of identifiable environmental benefits (based on the consumers expectations) would support the environment (Salmon & Stewart, 1997). In 1976, the American Marketing Associations defined t he green marketing as a study of positive and negative aspects marketing on pol lution and reductions of the energy resources as well as other resources. We should note that the above definition i s not comprehensive and we need to have a more comprehensive definition. Polansky defines green marketing as follows: green or environmental mar keting include those activities which are for establishing and facilitating the trade in order to sat isfy the needs and wants of the human in a manner in which these satisfaction of the needs and wants to do m inimum harm and damage to the environment. The important point here is the green marketing need to claim that it is about reducing less harm to the environment instead of the claim that it causes no arm to it whatsoever. We could probably say that those companies adopting green marketing concept in their approach have competitive advantages over those who have not yet adopted such an approach. There are many companies that have attempted to be more responsible towards the enviro nment so that they could satisfy their customers needs in a more appropriate ma nner. Companies like, Tiona, has modified the fishing techniques as people were getting more and more concern ove r the fishing nets which caused the mortality rates of the Dolphins to increase considerably. Green consumers are those consumers who are concern about the environment and their cons umption behaviour is the way in which show their support for the environment by purchasing environment friendly products (Gavoni,

2004). Green production means to produce products by using technologies which li mits or eradicates the pollution or has beneficial effects on the environment. Gr een accounting means the accounting method that attempts to take into considerations the money needs to be invested for ecological harm made to the forests (Whitzel, 1999). In general, the term Green in marketing is rooted i n the ecological and environmental discussions and those organizations or individual who want to discuss about the environmental or ecological pressures would use it. 4. in Effects of Social Responsibility on Green Marketing and its Implementation

Irans Industrial & Other Sectors Today, the Iranian consumers care more about their own health and their environm ents more than ever. Majority are in pursuit of those products that are least harmful to their own me ntal and physical health and ultimately their own society. In other words, the culture of the green consumption and green products purchasing has been promoted in the Iranian consumers in the last ten years. This is quite tangible and visible in the lives of Iranians but the Iranian companies and indu stry have not caught up 540 ----------------------- Page 4----------------------European Journal of Social Sciences Vol ume 19, Number 4 (2011) with it and have paid little attention to this trend. Unfortunately, there has b een little research in this area. They have not yet realized that green marketing and paying attention to co nsumers health and environment is a useful and practical tools to promote sales and consequently increase the profit margins. Additionally, it shall be a competitive advantage for the companies whi ch make them distinct from its competitors. It also plays an effective role on the environmental healt h. We should know that green marketing, today no longer an advert but it is a need and necessity. We, ( whether consumers or producers) should all have to pay attention to it because the environment is par t of our physical and mental health. Since social responsibility plays an important role in the green market ing and it can affect the health of the consumers and environment, we have the tools to implement the soci al responsibility for industry and companies in Iran for the increase in physical and mental health an d ultimately reach the compatible advantages in the Iranian industry which we shall discuss it here. As we discussed here, in the present article, the practical and necessary tools with regar ds to social responsibility include packaging, design, promotions, advertisements, private sale, services and positi

oning. 4.1. Packaging and Design Shoppers still use non recyclable plastic bags in all supermarkets and fruit sho ps in Iran. We wont be able to recycle these bags for the next 400 years, therefore, it is recommended to use recyclable or cardboard/paper bags. There are recyclable symbols displayed on some of the products, and some other lacks this labelling symbol. We recommend that the labelling symbol to be displayed on all products since many Iranian consumers do pay attention to these symbols. The packaging should be in a way that it would be easy to use them and it would not become a bother for the consumers to use them, for example, some of the juices in Iran d o not have a place to pierce them in order to use a straw. So, we should enter the straw from the bott om of the juice cartons or many of the sauces which are in small packages and are sold in the sandwich s hops and fast food places cannot be opened by hand and we need to use our teeth to open them. The packaging should be in a way that we do not throw them away after u se. The design for consumed products are better to be transparent so that t he inside of the products can be seen, unfortunately, many Iranian products like crisps, cakes, and chocol ates are not so which would make it impossible to see whether they are fresh or not. It is worth considering that in green design, the principle below shoul d be considered: New design based on futurism New design based on health and safety New design based on simple separations New design based on being able to recycle the products and decrease the p ollutions by using minimum energy New design based on using less materials and components of the products New design based on simple application 4.2. Advertising/ Promotions Many of the advertisements, in Iran, are focused on the prod ucts itself. It is recommended that the recyclability of the products, using technology of green producti on and also pay attention to the consumers welfare should be considered bearing in mind that the Iranian consumers care immensely about these elements. Our promotion should be in a manner that the consumers do not throw the recyclable products in the trash; this is seen in many of the Iranian cities which makes it very dif ficult for the government to separate the recyclable materials from the non recyclable ones. It is recomme nded that there should be places for the consumers in the cities so that they could take them to those designated places. There 541

----------------------- Page 5----------------------European Journal of Social Sciences Volume 19, Number 4 (2011) should be an incentive for them if people take their waste to them, for example, to give the consumers free products if they take back their recyclable wastes to the producers or they can designate places across the cities and in return for the recyclable products give them free sampl es/products of their own. 4.3. Personal Selling Since in many industries, the sales subject is sales or the product displayed in the exhibitions are private sales, it is recommended ect of the green production and clean technology should be displayed for the consumers viewing. 4.4. Services Many services of the Iranian companies can concentrated on present 8p on the phy sical evidence and processes and of their friendly services compatible with the I ranian environment. The process of providing services should be based on TQM (Total Quality Manag ement) and six sigma which it ultimate goal is to provide the needs and wants of the consumers so that to infl ict the least harm to the environment. 4.5. Positioning Once the segmentation and targeting is over, positioning is followed. In Iran, i t usually happens with prior advertising. After the above advertisings work is done, many of their products, specially, the consumed products, with low involvements, are better to make one of their main g oal to the health of the consumers and also the environments, even in philosophy, the organizational mission on the strategic level of the company is to be incorporated and pay attention to it is considered as one of the main necessities for the Iranian industry. 5. Conclusion We could say that there are no way back to the products which harm the environme nt and gradually, the government pressures, and competitions and change in the attitude of the cus tomers, will commit the companies to pursuit green marketing. The companies, with re engineering in production processes, product design, and service position are to solidify their positions in the comp etitive market, otherwise, they will get left behind by the green trend. the approach of green marketing is not only to satisfy the needs of the customers but to satisfy this need should be in a manner in which i t would be beneficial for the society too. There are different principles to establish competitive adv mainly that private the subj

antages and to go green embraces the opportunity and are listed below: First, greening in the production process often leads to the efficient resources and this leads to a lower expenses in the structure of the company and will improve the competitive position. Secondly, green marketing activities will enable the company to shine n ext to their competitors by offering new products with extra advantages, in the new markets. This will ca use the companys image to enhance in their customers eyes and will increase the loyalty of their c ustomers which in the final analysis it means increase in profits. Companies are after short term resu lts and they may have less commitment to the necessity of organizational process with regards to the m ain changes that need to take place. Therefore, they may be less inclined towards green marketing stra tegic approach. Then, we can conclude that time, commitment, and having resources ar e necessary for green marketing before it can produce results. 542 ----------------------- Page 6----------------------European Journal of Social Sciences Volu me 19, Number 4 (2011) Reference [1] Michael J Baker. (1996), Marketing (An Introductory Text), Macmillan press Ltd, pp 529532 [2] Bovee Courtland L and Thill John v. (1992), Marketing, McGraw-hill, pp 5, 44, 715, 58 [3] Cateora Philip R and Granham John L. (2002), International Marketing, McG raw-Hill, pp 34, 62 - 63, 350. [4] Govina Norman A. (2004), Dictionary of Marketing manag ement Communication, sage publications, p 87. [5] Jain Subasha C. (2001), International Marketing, south-western, pp 376-3 77. [6] Kotler Philip and Armstrong Gary. (1999), principles of marketing Prent ice-Hall International Inc, pp 361-364. [7] Peattie Ken. (2001), Towards sustainability :The Third Age of Green Marketing, Journal of Marketing Review [8] Peatti Ken.. (1995), Environmental Marketing management, Pitman Publishi ng. [9] KotabMassaki and KristianHelsen. (2004), Global Marketing management, J ohn Wiley &Sons Inc , pp 144-157. [10] Polonsky Michael Jay Itroduction To Green Marketing, Available on Intern et. [11] Polonsky Michael Jay and Rosenberger III Philip. (2001), Reevaluating Green Marketing :a Strategic approach Journal of Business /September October. [12] Pride William M .and Ferrell O .C. (1995) ,Marketing (Concepts and Strat

egies) , Houghton Mifflin, pp 72- 84. [13] Solomon Michael R .and Stuart Elenara W. (1997), Market ing (Real People, Real Choice), Prentice-Hall International Inc .pp 5, 83-84, 390. [14] Witzel Morgan. (1999), Dictionary of Business and manag ement, International Thomson Business .Press, pp 131-132. [15] Zikmund William G .and Damico Michael. (2001), Mar keting ) Creating and Keeping Customers in an E-Commerce), South-Western college publication, pp 22 26. [16] Amini Fazlolah. (2000), Social Responsibility Managers and Business Companies, No (105), pp 22-27. [17] Nazar Ahari Alireza. (1995), Management and Green Strategies, No (53), p p 40-47. 543