Green Marketing: 4 Examples of Sustainable Marketing

Green marketing highlights a business’s sustainability efforts by focusing on the ecological benefits of their products or services. These examples will show you how to highlight your environmentally-friendly products and services without greenwashing. 

Updated March 2, 2022

In a 2022 report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists warn that the rate of which temperatures are changing are reaching irreversible levels — without intervention, climate change is likely to impact human health, infrastructure, the stability of food and water resources, as well as the biodiversity of the planet’s ecosystems

In response to changes in the environment, individuals, businesses, governments, and international organizations are making an effort to reduce carbon footprints, minimize waste, and protect the environment. 

With a renewed focus on reversing climate change, companies of all sizes are responding by adjusting their manufacturing methods and daily operations to “go green.” 

Others are looking to solve the problem —  new companies such as Fuergy, Facedrive, and Power Ledger were founded on the concept of offering green products and services to eco-conscious consumers. 

With 60% of consumers stating that sustainability is a key deciding factor when looking to make a purchase, adopting a sustainable and environmentally-friendly business model is necessary to be competitive, and honestly, save the world. 

To really make a difference, sustainable brands need to promote their efforts to be sustainable. Known as green marketing, these strategies are likely to attract younger consumers, increase sales, and improve the perception of your brand.  

This article explores the definition of green marketing, highlights its benefits, and shares real-world examples. 

Interested in creating a green marketing campaign? Check out our directory of leading marketing firms to get started on your project. 

Need help selecting a company?

Based on your budget, timeline, and specifications we can help you build a shortlist of companies that perfectly matches your project needs. Schedule a free consultation with an analyst.

Free Consultation

What Is Green Marketing?

Green marketing highlights environmentally-friendly products, services, or aspects of a company's operations to appeal to consumers who are concerned about the environment. 

Green marketing is another way for companies to display their eco-friendly credentials by promoting products and services that offer environmental benefits or are made in environmentally-friendly ways. 

Green marketing also includes highlighting aspects of a company's efforts to care for the planet. Green marketing can focus on several different areas, including:

  • Products/services themselves
  • How the products are offered and sourced
  • Product packaging
  • Other areas of the company's operations that are carried out in eco-friendly ways

Beware of Greenwashing

Greenwashing is when companies claim to be environmentally friendly for marketing purposes, but don’t actually make any changes to be sustainable or overstate their green efforts.

Often, companies try to appear greener than they actually are to increase sales. 

For example, French clothing brand Lacoste wowed consumers with its Save Our Species campaign, replacing the company's iconic crocodile logo with similar images of other animals from around the world. This step aimed to draw attention to endangered species. 

lacoste green marketing example

Source

While Lacoste's powerful green marketing campaign helped raise funds for environmental efforts, the brand rating platform, “Good On You”  claims their efforts aren’t good enough. 

Although Lacoste uses some eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, they have not implemented practices to limit greenhouse gas emissions, textile waste, or reduce water consumption during production. 

By overemphasizing their commitment to environmentalism, they essentially greenwashed their brand. 

Instead, sustainable companies need to create real sustainability goals and outline benchmarks to help them reduce their carbon footprint. 

To uncover more sustainable brands, check out Good On You

How Does Green Marketing Work?

Companies that are sustainable can use green marketing tactics in their digital marketing, advertising, or social media campaigns. The key ingredient of a green marketing campaign is its focus on the environment and sustainability issues. 

By emphasizing the company’s values and dedication to a sustainable future, companies can appeal to customers, renew interest in their brand, and increase sales. 

Here are 4 benefits of a green marketing strategy:

  1. Focusing on the environment helps your business stay relevant
  2. Appealing to younger generations who are investing time and resources in environmental issues
  3. Increasing sales by catering to an environmentally-focused audience
  4. Building your brand identity around green living and sustainability values

1. Remaining Relevant

Companies need to keep up with the latest environmental topics to prove they are relevant and in touch with the needs and emotions of modern customers. For example, if you’re a cosmetic company and only sell products in plastic packaging, you risk alienating customers who are committed to plastic-free goods.

By creating more sustainable packaging and highlighting that in your advertising campaigns, companies can appeal to a larger audience and retain customers looking to be more environmentally conscious. 

2. Appealing to Younger Generations

Interest in the environment is not limited to younger generations, but studies show that it tends to be younger people who care more deeply about these issues and are more likely to seek out and shop with businesses that make the effort to be green.

For example, Native, a natural deodorant and cosmetic company, responded to feedback by offering deodorants in plastic-free packaging.

native green marketing example

Source

The product sold out within days of hitting virtual and physical shelves, which demonstrated consumer demand for more environmentally-friendly products from Native.

3. Increasing Sales

Studies show that more people are becoming selective about the environmental footprint of companies and are more likely to shop with brands that have green initiatives and services. 

In fact, 37% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products, and nearly three-quarters of millennials already do. For example, in 2019, in the U.S., popular deodorant brands like Dove, Degree, Secret, and Old Spice cost about $3.50 to $9.00.

deodorant pricing data

Source

Environmentally-minded brands like Native or Ethique sell plastic-free, all-natural deodorant for around $13, and consumers are willing to pay the difference.

4. Building Brand Identity

Investing in green marketing improves the overall perception of your company – its brand identity. Ikea is just one example of a company associating itself with green themes and eco-friendly initiatives.

ikea green marketing example

Source

Ikea's green marketing campaign featured the ad above. It claims that Ikea is committed to people and the planet and appeals to customers who care more about the environment and personal well-being than profit.

Sustainable Marketing Best Practices 

While green marketing is an effective way to capture customer interest, campaigns need to be genuine and factual. Follow these green marketing best practices to avoid greenwashing and inform customers of your eco-friendly efforts.  

Green Marketing Best Practices 

  1. Get Green-certified
  2. Support eco-friendly programs
  3. Explain pricing
  4. Invest in sustainable packaging
  5. Create recycling programs
  6. Plan to reduce emissions

Get Green-Certified

If your company follows sustainable practices, organizations like Green America, Green Seal, or Green Business Certification Inc can certify your efforts. 

Third-party certifications like this show that your green marketing efforts are credible and can sway skeptical buyers who are wary of greenwashing. 

Support eco-friendly programs

In addition to their internal business practices, companies can partner with green charities. By partnering with environmental foundations and raising money to support their work, companies can improve their reputations as green businesses. 

Explain pricing 

Some sustainable business practices, like sustainable packaging, can cost more money to produce. As a result, companies often have to raise their prices to accommodate the cost of materials. 

While an increase in pricing may deter some potential customers, more than a third of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. By providing an explanation for the price increase, companies can actually attract younger consumers who are actively trying to make more environmentally-friendly purchases.  

Invest in sustainable packaging

Packaging can be a major form of waste. By reducing the use of plastics and using recyclable materials, companies can significantly reduce their carbon footprint. 

At the same time, a package redesign is a great opportunity for companies to showcase how they’re becoming more eco-friendly. 

If you’re looking to create eco-friendly packaging, consider partnering with a packaging design agency that can ensure that your packaging is sustainable, aligns with your brand, and protects your products. 

Create recycling programs

Companies can also limit waste by backing recycling programs. Some companies even encourage customers to send their products back to them to ensure that they’re recycled properly and don’t end up in a landfill. 

Boie, a personal hygiene company that is committed to creating sustainable products in lieu of wasteful toothbrushes, loofahs, and other plastic materials, asks customers to send their products back when they’re done using them. 

Boie's sustainable products are recyclable

While all of their products are recyclable, they know that there is no guarantee that recycling facilities will process them properly. 

Instead, Boie melts the products that are returned and uses the material to create more products.  

Reduce Emissions

Companies need to outline how they’ve limited their greenhouse gas emissions. By creating a webpage or press release that outlines how they’re committed to reducing their emissions and waste, they build their credibility. 

Examples of Green Marketing

Let's take a closer look at more examples of green marketing in action to see how it works.

Green Marketing Example #1: Patagonia

Patagonia turned heads in 2011 when it ran a campaign asking people not to buy its products for environmental reasons.

patagonia green marketing example

Source

In the campaign, Patagonia openly admitted that its operations harmed the planet. The campaign, however, actually helped improve public opinion of Patagonia as an honest brand that was making an effort to be more eco-friendly.

For more on sustainability in the fashion industry, read ‘The 10 Best Sustainable Clothing Brands.

Green Marketing Example #2: The Body Shop

When people think of The Body Shop, they immediately tend to associate the brand with nature, environmental awareness, and care for the planet, and this is all thanks to the company's dedication to green marketing over the years.

body shop green marketing example

Source

The Body Shop’s marketing campaigns focus on products that are not tested on animals and use natural, sustainably-sourced ingredients. The “I Am Forever Against Animal Testing” campaign is a key example of green marketing.

Green Marketing Example #3: Carlsberg

Danish beer brand Carlsberg recently launched a campaign focusing on its efforts to create a 100% biodegradable beer bottle crafted from wood fiber.

carlsberg green marketing example

Source

With more people worrying about the waste they generate in their homes, this campaign makes Carlsberg a more appealing choice for beer fans who want to support the environment.

Green Marketing Example #4: Starbucks

Starbucks is living proof that even the biggest chains with countless physical locations and immense energy usage all over the planet can put eco-friendly initiatives in place.

starbucks green marketing example

Source

For example, Starbucks launched reusable cup campaigns, offering customers a discount if they buy and use a reusable cup, rather than relying on single-use cups. Starbucks continues to invest in green marketing to demonstrate its dedication to renewable energy sources and social impact projects.

Invest in Green Marketing as a Sustainable Marketing Strategy

Green marketing can be a powerful force, not only for the planet but also for businesses that want to keep up with the times, appeal to younger generations, and set themselves apart from the crowd.

If you need any assistance with your next green marketing campaign, browse our list of digital marketing companies.

Need help selecting a company?

Based on your budget, timeline, and specifications we can help you build a shortlist of companies that perfectly matches your project needs. Schedule a free consultation with an analyst.

Free Consultation