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ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLINESS AS A MARKETING STRATEGY

CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW OF PRESENT ENVIRONMENT CONCERNS

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

Research has shown that air pollutants from fossil fuel use make clouds reflect more of the suns rays back into space. This leads to an effect known as global dimming whereby less heat and energy reaches the earth. At first, it sounds like an ironic savior to climate change problems. However, it is believed that global dimming caused the droughts in Ethiopia in the 1970s and 80s where millions died, because the northern hemisphere oceans were not warm enough to allow rain formation. Global dimming is also hiding the true power of global warming. By cleaning up global dimmingcausing pollutants without tackling greenhouse gas emissions, rapid warming has been observed, and various human health and ecological disasters have resulted, as witnessed during the European heat wave in 2003, which saw thousands of people die. The variety of life on Earth, its biological diversity, is commonly referred to as biodiversity. The number of species of plants, animals, and microorganisms, the enormous diversity of genes in these species, the different ecosystems on the planet, such as deserts, rainforests and coral reefs are all part of a biologically diverse Earth. Appropriate conservation and sustainable development strategies attempt to recognize this as being integral to any approach. In some way or form, almost all cultures have recognized the importance of nature and its biological diversity for their societies and have therefore understood the need to maintain it. Yet, power, greed and politics have affected the precarious balance

Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play.

For example, a larger number of plant species means a greater variety of crops; greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms; and healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters.

It has long been feared that human activity is causing massive extinctions. Despite increased efforts at conservation, it has not been enough and biodiversity losses continue. The costs associated with deteriorating or vanishing ecosystems will be high. However, sustainable development and consumption would help avert ecological problems.

At the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was born. 192 countries, plus the EU, are now Parties to that convention. In April 2002, the Parties to the Convention committed to significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity loss by 2010. Perhaps predictably, that did not happen. Despite numerous successful conservations measures supporting biodiversity, the 2010 biodiversity target has not been met at the global level. This page provides an overview on how the attempts to prevent biodiversity loss is progressing.

CHAPTER 2: INTRODUCTION

The United States plus a few other countries, and many large corporations, have been against climate change treaties due to the fear of the threat to their economy and profits if they have to make substantial changes.

However, as more climate change science has emerged over the years, many businesses are accepting this and even asking their governments for more action so that there is quick clarification on the new rules of the game so they can get on with their businesses. Many corporations and businesses are adopting green marketing and are being environmentally friendly so as to appeal to the masses and contribute to the society at the same time
NEWSWEEK's 2010 Green Rankings is a data-driven assessment of the largest companies in the U.S. and in the world. Our goal was to cut through the green chatter and quantify the actual environmental footprints, policies, and reputations of these big businesses. To do this, we teamed up with three leading environmental research organizations to create the most comprehensive rankings available. Who made the top 10? View our methodology.

Background: People are getting more aware of the environmental issues every day. One only have to read in a daily paper to realize to what extent todays society affect the environment, how the general public is becoming more aware of the problem and willing to do something about it.

The recent years large natural disasters and climate changes, such as hurricanes and severe floods, have elevated the general public of their impact on the environment. This is being displayed through great national attempts to create environmental protocols, reducing discharges and so forth. People are becoming inclined to give up some of their personal comfort in order to be more environmental friendly. This can be demonstrated through travelling by bus instead of by car, by saving electricity, by buying environmental friendly products and by supporting products and services that are produced locally in order to reduce waste even though those efforts might mean higher prices and less comfort.

This change in the awareness of the environment has led to a shift in the demand for environmental friendly products from the public. Many grocery stores today provide organic, toxic free products and so forth, as alternatives to the regular products, which can be seen as a result of the environmental awareness of people and the increased demand for healthier food.

Low price earlier often was a very important factor, issues such as how the item has been produced, what it contains and if there are any toxics or chemical additives in it has become determinant factors for a large group of people, whether to buy or not. However it should be said that even if the environmental issues are a concern, still the price is one of the most important determines for many people. Traditionally marketing has focused on the marketing mix and the four P:s of marketing, product, price, place and promotion. However a marketing approach focusing on creating customer value and relationships has attracted interest the last decades.

With all these aspects in mind it is interesting to further investigate how and if environmental friendliness can be used by the general dealers for marketing purposes. Can the environment and an approach signaling environmental consideration be used as a way to position a company and can it thereby be a strategic tool?