Ecological marketing is a functional part of business. In order to maintain or restore the ecological balance as well as to reduce environmental pollution and environmental destruction, ecological aspects must be integrated into the marketing. The problems lie mainly in the following areas (U. Hansen):
Unreproducible resources are consumed to a large extent; Renewable resources are used up faster than they grow back
There are ecologically harmful residues that pollute the environment
Non-recyclable or non-recycled products pollute the environment.
In this context, marketing is accused of
it increases demand and thus also production;
the growth orientation leads to a waste of resources and more waste;
die Vernachlässigung langfristiger ökologischer consequences belaste nachkommende Generationen.
In some cases, the existing conflicts are to be reduced by creating an appropriate awareness (including a sense of responsibility). The result is then, for example, the reduced use of resources, which also leads to cost reductions. On the other hand, there are also conflicting points, for example when a measure would make ecological sense, but the framework conditions lead to poorer economic results.
Four phases can be distinguished for the implementation of ecological marketing:
- Realization of the measures prescribed by law
- Introduction of cost-reducing environmental measures
- Realization of cost-neutral measures
- Realization of cost-effective measures that do not "pay off" in the short term
The process of ecological marketing is identical to the "normal" marketing process:
1. Zunächst sind die Unternehmensphilosophie und das Marketing mission statement um die ökologischen Aspekte zu erweitern.
2. The situation analysis clarifies the general conditions for an ecologically oriented marketing. Important points are the attitudes of consumers, dealers etc. and their behavior. The number of environmental activists has increased in recent years; In some cases, however, there is a discrepancy between environmental awareness and purchasing behavior.
3. Clear ecological goals must be formulated and environmental strategies developed on this basis.
Four overarching directions are possible for the strategies:
a) The passive strategy: only the minimum is done, compliance with the law.
b) The selective strategy: one orientates oneself on the competition and tries to realize this standard or at most to stand out against the competition. In addition, one behaves passively.
c) The internally oriented strategy: it is mainly oriented towards the production process and cost savings.
d) The "real" ecological strategy: it sees the environment as a challenge and tries to set standards and develop innovations with new concepts, ultimately with the aim of standing out on the market and gaining market shares and new customers.
An ecological marketing strategy manifests itself in an ecologically oriented marketing mix.
Finally, the question of marketing organization also arises. For example, an environmental protection department can be created to advise other areas and departments. Of course, it would be ideal if ecological thinking were to find a broader basis in marketing.