Green Marketing: Is It Worth The Buck Spent On It?

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on May 19, 2012

According to the American Marketing Association, GREEN MARKETING is the marketing of products that are presumed to be environmentally safe. Off-lately it has turned into a global phenomenon which has enabled the re-marketing and packaging of existing products of various global brands.

It has also opened the door of opportunity for companies to co-brand their products into separate line augmenting its green-friendliness before the customers like never before. But such marketing techniques did not just evolve just as an innovation in a board-room but also as a direct result of awareness and concern for environment in the mind of today’s consumer.  

As a result of this, businesses have increased their rate of targeting consumers who are concerned about the environment. But in an effort to present itself ‘head-to-heel’ as green, the recent campaigns by many of the companies have given rise to this one important question that majorly affects the cost-constraints of those companies that ‘Is Green Marketing worth the buck spent on it ?’In this article we would be taking you through the recent trends adopted by many companies in India regarding green marketing and what does it mean for you and me in the short and the long term.

Present Trends In Green Marketing In India

With rising awareness among the masses about environmental degradation, firms have realized that consumers prefer products that eco-friendly, herbal and have no negative consequences on their health. Firms want to foray into the league because of

  • Getting a first-mover advantage
  • Develop a competitive edge
  • Creating a brand-image as an environment conscious body
  • Adopting value-creating CSR activities.

When we studied various industries, we found out that two broad type of approaches are increasingly been adopted in by firms:

  • Use the fact that they are environmentally responsible as a marketing tool – Most of the firms getting into this green revolution phase like SBI, WIPRO, NEROLAC, TATA etc. like their customers to know about the various initiatives they are taking in this direction.
  • Become responsible without prompting this fact – COCA-COLA is one such firm which has invested heavily in various recycling activities and modified packaging to minimize its environmental impact but did not use this as a marketing tool. Also Walt Disney World (WDW) has put in place an extensive waste management program and infrastructure in place, yet do not highlight it in their promotional activities.

Is it really working for businesses?

When we actually looked into the various campaigns across companies for the last few years regarding green-marketing, we found out some astonishing facts. Those companies have actually started/expecting reaping profits from there initiative and the returns are expected to soar high above in the future too. Many of them were actually apprehensive of the projects they initiated for it turned out that without proper planning and a good vision, they set to sail far off(off course with the exception of few, but that do happens in every business). Here are some of the projects we studied and what they did for there organizations.

State Bank of India: Green IT@SBI:

By using eco and power friendly equipment in its 10,000 new ATMs, the banking giant has not only saved power costs and earned carbon credits, but also set the right example for others to follow.

Lead Free Paints from Kansai Nerolac:

Kansai Nerolac Paints Ltd. has worked on removing hazardous heavy metals from their paints. The hazardous heavy metals like lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic and antimony can have adverse effects on humans. Lead in paints especially poses danger to human health where it can cause damage to Central Nervous System, kidney and reproductive system.

Indian Oil's Green Agenda:

Indian Oil has invested about Rs. 7,000 crore so far in green fuel projects at its refineries; ongoing projects account for a further Rs. 5,000 crore. Also the R&D Centre of Indian Oil is engaged in the formulations of eco-friendly biodegradable lube formulations.

Wipro Green IT:

Wipro Infotech was India's first company to launch environment friendly computer peripherals. For the Indian market, Wipro has launched a new range of desktops and laptops called Wipro Greenware. These products are RoHS(Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant thus reducing e-waste in the environment.

Going Green: Tata's new mantra:

Tata Motors is setting up an eco-friendly showroom using natural building material for its flooring and energy efficient lights. The Indian Hotels Company, which runs the Taj chain, is in the process of creating eco rooms which will have energy efficient mini bars, organic bed linen and napkins made from recycled paper. Another eco-friendly consumer product that is in the works is Indica EV, an electric car that will run on polymer lithium ion batteries.


We know that for any corporate business, it’s the financial gain and economic profit that matters the most.But now, the steps taken for sustainability of business which cause harm to the environment are being frowned upon gradually across the globe. Businesses have by large understood the fact that this is the right time to select “Green Marketing”globally. But they do need to realize that Green marketing should not be considered as just one more approach to marketing, but has to be pursued with much greater vigor, as it has an environmental and social dimension to it.

Also every penny spent on it is worth it. Though there can be some hiccups or over-flooding of  markets with ‘green-products’, it would ultimately give rise to sustainable development and preservation of environment.

Also the marketers here have the responsibility to make the consumers understand the need for and benefits of green products as compared to non-green ones. In green marketing, consumers are willing to pay more to maintain a cleaner and greener environment. In these times, Green marketing assumes even more importance and relevance in developing countries like India.

This article has been authored by Neha Jain & Sourabh Sahu from IIM Indore


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