The green movement has gained massive popularity over the past several years and its influence has spread across just about every industry. Many companies are redesigning the way they do business in order to incorporate sustainable practices in their processes to produce goods or services that are environmentally friendly.
Sustainability efforts can involve many different areas of a company, including marketing. Unlike traditional marketing, sustainable marketing is concerned with more than just profit. Sustainable marketing, or green marketing, focuses on the triple bottom line of profit, people, and planet. It takes into consideration the availability of resources, the environmental impact of manufacturing and packaging, and the consequences of consumption. Sustainable marketing may also involve vendor selection and raw material purchases. Sustainable marketing also seeks to tap into consumer attitudes and perceptions regarding the environment in order to better position brands to appeal to environmentally aware consumers.
Companies as diverse as Intel, Proctor and Gamble, Honda, and Starbucks have all implemented sustainability practices in their organizations. Many nonprofit organizations have also joined the movement, including National Geographic Society, The Sierra Club, and the National Wildlife Federation.
There are several trends driving changes in sustainable marketing, with one of the most significant being the need to stand out in an increasingly saturated green marketplace. As more companies and products implement sustainability measures, marketers must find out how to differentiate their brand from other green brands, which may come down to the value and performance of the product itself.
Social media and gaming are hot trends across many industries but they are particularly suited to sustainable marketing. Many consumers will decrease consumption or select more environmentally friendly options if their actions are being shared with others. One electric company, for example, allowed consumers to measure their energy consumption against their neighbors to see who could use less.
Biobased products are also making their way to store shelves, including plant-based cleaning agents, compostable dinnerware made from corn, and bamboo flooring. Biobased products are made in whole or in part of biological products, such as plants and agricultural goods.
For most brands, the focus is turning to connecting with consumers, suppliers, and experts to continue to develop innovative ways to incorporate sustainability and social purpose into business strategies and products.
There are several different degrees and certificates available in sustainable marketing. Those who wish to enter this field may pursue a marketing degree, such as a bachelor’s degree in business administration marketing. For higher level positions, an MBA in marketing may be required. Most degree programs include sustainability courses and several offer the option to specialize in sustainable marketing. Certificates in sustainable marketing are also available, which can supplement or take the place of full degree programs for those who already have a degree or for whom earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree isn’t feasible.
With the growing consumer interest in making socially and environmentally aware purchasing decisions, sustainable marketing positions should continue to grow. As more companies seek to adopt green practices and develop sustainable strategies, the demand for qualified professionals in sustainable marketing should increase with opportunities across just about all major industries.