From Eco-friendly to Eco-Effective: Evolution in Sustainable Marketing Practices

Environmental Marketing (also known as Sustainable or Green Marketing) came into notice in the early 1990s. It started in Europe when certain products were recognized as being harmful to our planet’s atmosphere. As a result, new sustainable products came into existence that were less harmful to the environment.

Sustainable or Green Marketing includes all the activities designed to produce and facilitate any alternatives intended to please human needs. It is the advertising of products that are assumed to be environmentally secure. This type of marketing incorporates activities like product modification, packaging changes, and production process changes.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable or Green Marketing refers to the marketing concept in which the marketing, production, consumption, and product disposal take place less detrimental manner for the environment along with providing awareness about the global warming implications, harmful impact of pollutants, and non-biodegradable solid waste. Marketers as well as users are becoming sensitive to the need for a shift to sustainable products or services.

Sustainable marketing refers to the process of advertising products or services as per their environmental benefits. A product or a service can be environmentally friendly if it’s produced or packaged in an eco-friendly way.

Sustainability marketing is flourishing well due to an increase in customer base. The public seems to be skeptical of sustainable or green claims to start with and businesses can seriously hurt them and their sales if an eco-friendly claim is found to be incorrect or contradicted by the company’s practices or other products. Establishing a product or service as eco-friendly when it’s not is known as greenwashing. However, this definition is refined now and broken down into three key clusters.


The marketing of products or services that are presumed to be environmentally safe is called retailing.

Social Marketing

The development and advertising of products or services designed to reduce harmful effects on the physical environment.


The efforts by an organization to develop, package, promote, and retrieve products or services in a way that is receptive or sensitive to ecological concerns.

These key clusters state that sustainable or green marketing involves letting consumers know about steps the green company has taken to benefit the environment, boost sales, or minimize costs.

Evolution of Sustainable Marketing

As resources are short and human needs are limitless, marketers need to use the resources efficiently as well as to fulfill the company’s objective.

That’s why sustainable or green marketing is the need of the moment. There is an increasing interest among consumers across the world regarding environmental protection. Global evidence shows people are worried about the environment. Thus, they are trying are trying to change their behavior too. As a consequence, sustainable marketing has evolved well over the last few years. As per Donald C. Peattie (US Botanist), the evolution of sustainable marketing is divided into three phases.

The first phase was Ecological marketing where all marketing activities were focused on helping environmental issues and delivering remedies for these environmental problems.

The second phase was Environmental marketing in which the focus shifted to clean technology that included innovative new products designed to take care of waste issues and pollution.

The third phase was Sustainable marketing which came into existence in the late 1990s or early 2000. It means fulfilling the human being’s present needs without compromising the ability of upcoming generations to fulfill their own needs.

Challenges in Sustainable Marketing

Following are some essential challenges in sustainable or green marketing.

  • Eco-friendly products need renewable or recyclable material that is expensive.
  • Need the latest technology too requires good investment in research and development.
  • Most people don’t know much about eco-friendly products and their utilization.
  • Most consumers are not willing to give a premium for sustainable products.

Sustainable marketing should not ignore the economic side of marketing. Marketers must understand the implications of sustainable marketing.

Tips for Effective Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable or green marketing focuses on promoting eco-friendly or green products. Thus, it becomes the companies’ responsibility to embrace creativity and insight and be dedicated to the growth of eco-friendly products. For sustainable marketing to be effective, you must do the following three things.

  • Be genuine and do what you declare to be performing in your sustainable marketing campaign. Your business policies must also depict the same thing i.e. say what you have declared.
  • Educate your consumers about the eco-friendly policy of your company.
  • Give your customers a chance to take part in the sustainable or green mission of your company.

Strategies for Sustainable Marketing

The advertising strategies for sustainable marketing include the following.

  • Marketing Audit (both internal and external).
  • Marketing plan development outlining strategies regarding the 4 Ps.
  • Execute sustainable marketing strategies.
  • Plan outcomes evaluation.


Sustainable marketing is the marketing of products or services that are presumed to be environmentally secure. It is gaining quite the attention of marketers as well as consumers in today’s era. It has evolved significantly in the last few decades and today what we see as sustainable marketing is a refined form of green marketing. A carefully designed sustainable marketing strategy can attain credibility with consumers and provide a platform for growth. It may be costly as it requires the latest technology and certain types of materials for designing eco-friendly products, but it’s less harmful to the environment. To design an effective sustainable marketing campaign, you must follow the essential tips and strategies highlighted above.