The literature review revealed that no single source of information or
document precisely contained information on green business certification
strategies. However, the literature and sources of information reviewed did
cover a broad range of green marketing and related topics.
This section is going to
be separated into several sub-sections in order to breakdown and explain the
usefulness of a green business certification.
What is a green business certification?
According to the Illinois
Green Business Association, a green business certification can have some
building attributes but mainly focuses on opportunities inside the building –
the operations of the business. The program is designed to identify savings,
engage staff in green practices, and increase operational efficiency.
Why get certified?
The main reasons why a
business would go green are the followings:
Ø Reduce operating costs
through efficient, practical green practices such as recycling and composting
can help lessen the garbage bill, saving water can decrease the water bill, and
by using energy efficient lighting it can bring down the energy bill.
Ø Attract new customers and
retain current ones
Ø Receive connectivity &
application assistance to incentive programs offered by the state utility
Ø Credibly market the business as
green through vetted standards and third party verification of the business’
Ø Take advantage of green
marketing’s benefits by communicating the logo of
the certification on prints and electronic materials (website, email, business
cards…) and exposing the certificate where customers can see it.
Ø Get distinguished from
Ø Engage employees in green
practices, increasing operational efficiency
Ø Commit to being a sustainable
leader in the community – help customers understand
how green practices can help them too!
According to a
qualitative study on motivations in 53 firms in the UK and Japan, Bansal and
Roth (2000) determined three motivations that companies have to go green:
competitiveness, legitimation and ecological responsibility. They explain these
motivations are influenced by contextual conditions such as field cohesion,
issue salience and individual concern.
determined, through the example of certified lamb meat product studied in
New-Zealand and Australia, that consumers do prefer sustainable certified
products if they are “clearly labeled and well-marked”, but also that certified
sustainable product sales can be sustained overtime. It is shown that this
market can become mainstream if the consumer demand of certified sustainable
Which one to choose?
As the former editor of
GreenBiz Group, Tilde Herrera, said finding a green business certification
program that fits a company is like “navigating the wilderness of Green
Green marketing consists
of marketing products and services based on environmental factors or awareness.
Companies involved in green marketing make decisions relating to the entire
process of the company’s products, such as methods of processing, packaging and
distribution (Investopedia). Therefore, once a business is certified green its
next step would be green marketing. According to Vaccaro (2007), the
“effectiveness of B2B green marketing strategies helps generate competitive
advantage in an ecological-sustainable way”.
Vaccaro discusses on
“how organizations can achieve successful competitive advantage while
contributing to environmental sustainability for the common good of society”. She
also notes that “an application of diffusion of B2B green marketing strategies
can help shed light on how to increase the rate of adoption for green products,
services and processes to create a competitive advantage, and at the same time,
help move the world toward greater ecological sustainability.” With that said,
Corporate Social Responsibility includes four types of theories: instrumental
theories, political theories, integrative theories and ethical theories
(Garriga and Melé, 2004). According to Varadarajan and Menon (1998),
instrumental CSR theories include strategies for achieving competitive
advantage by making profits while also helping social causes. Even though,
political theories have been applied to environmental marketing (Menon and
Menon, 1997), integrative theories focus on green marketing (Rivera-Camino,
2007) and ethical theories focus on doing the right thing for society including
environmental sustainability (Garriga and Melé, 2004), this article focuses on
instrumental CSR theories because green marketing is a strategic tool, similar
to cause marketing. Therefore, it is useful for this report in order to review
different green marketing strategies in green business certification.
marketing has two approaches (McDaniel and Rylander, 1993): Reactive and
Miles and Covin (2000), a reactive green marketing strategy follows regulations
of environmental management but also requires limited assets, low involvement
of top management and a short-term orientation (Menon et al., 1999). On the other hand, a proactive green marketing
strategy tends to require greater resources (more expensive and risky), has
more organizational commitment including environmental corporate policy which
reflects high levels of top management and employee involvement, and is more
long term in orientation (Menon et al.,
1999; McDaniel and Rylander, 1993; Peattie and Crane, 2005). A proactive green
marketing strategy focuses on the needs of customers, other company
stakeholders, future generations of customers, and fulfill those needs with
innovative solutions (Peattie and Crane, 2005). The objective of this type of strategy
is the “triple bottom line” of economic, social and ecological sustainability
(Elkington, 1997). This strategy can also be related to “eco-effectiveness”.
According to Chen et al. (2008), “eco-effectiveness aims beyond merely reducing
negative environmental impact by ending ecological degradation. Seeking an
ultimate solution for ecological problems, eco-effectiveness oftentimes
requires a shift of mindset and transformation of business models”.
Sima (2013) presents green marketing strategies
in the context of Romania
“The role of the internet is another aspect that should be taken in
account. … The B2B sales models are typically more complicated, involving
customers with unique requirements of business but also multiple buyers who may
come from the same company. The key is the development of sales channels in a
cost effective manner. By specific individual needs. In this case, the key s to
establish customer loyalty and repletion of the purchase. ”
“Rapid convergence of B2C and B2B models has created a new paradigm
“business-to-everyone”. It’s represented by supplying customers with unique and
personalized experience, with quick and easy access to the proper products and
services. B2E means:
in a world of growing commodity production, customers base their buying
decisions more frequently on a company’s ability to meet their particular needs
complete solutions, coordinated simultaneously by all stakeholders
access to information on critical process”
Green advantages in B2B marketing
A prosperous green marketing strategy must contain sustainable
development in order to fulfill customers’ needs and prospects (Carta et al.,
Grant (2007) separated green marketing activities in 3 categories:
green, greener and greenest, and considering them into a hierarchy with 3
levels: public (companies, markets, political and cultural values), social
(identity, meaning and branding) and personal (products and practical benefit).