Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Impact of Green Marketing on the Students' Purchase Decision

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Impact of Green Marketing on the Students' Purchase Decision

Article excerpt


Numerous environmental disasters in the late 1980s placed environmentalism in the spotlight. Among these were the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Alaska, decimation of Germany's Black Forest by acid rain and release of toxic chemicals in the Rhine River (Ottman, 1998). These environmental ills were further aggravated by problems caused by the world's growing population. These included damages inflicted by consumption on the earth's ecosystem. Most notable of these were air and water pollution, consumer solid waste and garbage disposal (Ottman, 1998). Environmentalists such as Al Gore (2000) and Thomas Friedman (2008) have advocated the need to preserve the environment.

Consequently, environmentalism has been viewed as the next cold war (Fuller, 1999). It has been argued that while billions of dollars were spent to fight the threat of communism; a threat which was uncertain but not improbable, the same position should be adopted towards the environment, as the threat to the world's ecosystem is every bit uncertain but pressing just like the threat of communism. Since economic progress and environmental quality are interrelated, there is a need to face this challenge. The need to face this challenge head-on has translated into marketing opportunities. Thus, the implication of all this for the present and future practice of marketing are enormous (Fuller, 1999).


Marketing fulfills business and human purpose by providing benefits to customers through products such as the food people eat, the clothes they wear, the houses where they live and the cars they drive. Thus, the decisions on what products to make and how to offer them are part of the marketing functions. Decisions on what products to make also relate to what to take (e.g. the resources required to make and market those products) and both the making and taking processes, and eventually the wasting process (e.g. whatever wastes are left after the making and taking processes) have ecological costs in the form of waste, pollution and damage to ecosystems (Fuller, 1999). Determining the attributes of products and the specific systems through which they are made available to the markets also determines resource/energy use and waste generation patterns, the antecedents of pollution and ecosystems degradation (Fuller, 1999). The challenge for marketing is to reinvent product systems to achieve "zero-waste, zero discharge" outcomes while still giving the same benefits to customers.

Toward this end, marketers coined the term ecological marketing, green marketing, environmental marketing, eco-marketing and sustainable marketing (Coddington, 1993, Fuller, 1998 and Ottman, 1998). For consistency, this study will adopt the term green marketing.

Green marketing has been defined as an organized movement of concerned citizens and government to protect and enhance people's living environment (Kotler & Armstrong, 2008). Grewal and Levy define it as a strategic effort by firms to supply customers with environment-friendly merchandise (2008). Green marketing has become popular in an increasing number of countries and green marketers want environmental costs factored into the consumers' decision process (Kotler & Armstrong, 2008 and Kotabe & Helsen, 2008). Green marketing encourages people and organizations to operate with more care for the environment (Kotler, Armstrong, Ang, Leong, Tan & Tse, 2005). Various businesses and consumers can adopt green marketing.

Businesses and Green Marketing

Businesses can adopt green marketing by facing three issues: "what it takes", "what it makes" and "what it wastes". Fuller defines "what it takes" as the materials and energy resources that are removed from the earth's ecosystems while "what it makes" represents the products of commerce, goods and services while "what it wastes" represent the cultural garbage/waste, pollution and the ongoing destruction of natural systems (1999). …

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