The Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility

By Steve May; George Cheney et al. | Go to book overview

25

Green Marketing and Advertising

WORAWAN YIM ONGKRUTRAKSA

About a decade ago, environmental marketing began to boom. We entered the age of environmental marketing as firms started to set their green marketing strategies in plain view:

Under fire from environmentalists for its dis-
posable diapers, Procter & Gamble pledges
to spend $20 million per year to help de-
velop a composting infrastructure.

L'Eggs, a subsidiary of Sara Lee Corp., rede-
signs its famous plastic egg, making it far
more environmentally benign.

Coca-Cola starts using recycled plastic in its
2-liter soda bottles.

McDonald's makes a $100 million recycling
commitment to its consumers. (Coddington,
1993, p. 1)

It is obvious that notable corporate giants deem it a must to promote corporate images that reflect their environmental awareness and involvement.

Today's world is now facing enormous environmental problems and challenges. Environmental problems caused more than 2,000 people to perish in Europe in 2003 due to a heat wave, while storms and floods sporadically killed people in many parts of the world the following year. The 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed more than 186,000 people in South and Southeast Asia, making it one of the deadliest disasters in modern history. The 2005 hurricane Katrina killed more than 1,800 in the southern United States. The $200 billion in damages made Katrina the most destructive and costly natural disaster in the history of the country. The devastating aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita should force President Bush to face up to the threat of climate change and international cooperation on the issue.

Natural disasters are only one type of environmental issue that proves that, at the beginning of the new millennium, we should further emphasize the importance of environmental marketing. Consumers, for example, are now more concerned about environmental problems than ever. According to a recent survey, North American consumers believe that companies should take greater steps to deal with environmental issues—35% in 1996, up from 29% in 1993 (Lawrence, 1998). Roper's national opinion poll on attitudes toward the environment shows that the majority of Americans regard a number of issues as “very serious” (Roper Starch Worldwide, 1996), including industrial water and air pollution, destruction of ozone and rain forests, industrial accidents, oil spills, and hazardous waste. Further, many people are convinced that businesses should play a major role in confronting these issues, as evidenced by a national Cone/Roper survey on cause-related marketing (Cone Communications, 1994), which found that the quality of the environment ranked second only to crime among issues businesses need to improve upon.

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