In our discussion on “green” marketing, we covered a range of topics including the effect that green advertising has on brand value, how consumers analyze green advertising and the impression it gives them of both the industry and the product it sells, and whether advertising can really ever be green at all. Many students raised the concern that large industries are now merely “green-washing” their environmentally harmful products to advertise effectively. Several of the articles we read on green marketing indicated that many consumers share the same concerns, and would like a greater degree of transparency in large companies, making it easier to determine whether or not they live up to their green claims. Although demonstrating a general distrust of large companies operating in a capitalist system, many students felt they really had no way of knowing whether companies are being honest or not in their advertising.
Many companies feel that to keep their consumers, they must subscribe to the “environmentally friendly” trend. Companies must take a good look at their consumers’ values in order to advertise effectively. It is positive news, then, that these values include the environment. Still, some students felt that the consumers themselves we not truly concerned with the environment either. However, if neither large companies nor consumers were actually concerned about the environment, why is each convinced the other is? The truth is that as greater numbers of the population become educated about environmental issues, concern for these problems does rise. Companies’ profits depend on appealing to consumer values. In a capitalist system, the supply reflects the demand.
We all have great power as consumers to, with our buying power, pressure industries to operate and produce according to our own standards. However, it is clear that consumerism alone will not win the battle against climate change. Increased environmental education and key policy decisions are just two more factors that will certainly play a role.
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