Who are the Green Consumers, and What do they want?

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Master'sA, October 1996

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Green marketing is one of the hottest trends being used by marketers these days. In 1989 it barely existed, but by 1990 it was all the rage (1, 25). In the past decade, Americans have displayed an increasing concern for the environment as they begin to realize it is slowly deteriorating. More than seventy percent of the 180 million tons of trash disposed each year in the United States is buried in landfills, and the landfills are reaching capacity. On top of this, the hole in the ozone layer continues to grow larger, threatening numerous amounts of people with skin cancer (6, 117). In response, companies must begin to make changes to their products, their claims, packaging, and manufacturing processes in order to offer consumers a cleaner and safer environment. Some companies have already started to engage in 'green marketing activities.'

For example, Procter and Gamble is now packaging Tide, Cheer, Era, and Dash in bottles made of twenty five percent recycled plastic and has introduced the first ever concentrated fabric softener refill package (3, 24). Many other companies have also jumped on the new environmental marketing bandwagon. For instance, in Toronto, Canada, the Loblaw grocery chain provides customers with its own private label line called President's Choice Green. The line offers phosphate-free detergents, biodegradable diapers, and high-efficiency light bulbs. In addition, all President's Choice Green products are produced in a bright green package made from recyclable paper (5, 38).

The problem with green marketing has been that the sales of these products have not met the expectations most companies had envisioned. One reason for this problem is that green products often cost more than non-green products. Therefore, consumers are simply not responding because their economic...