Core Theme - Sustainability and Marketing Strategy
This research is conducted in order to estimate the impact of environmental friendly products and services over “The Body Shop” and the driving forces pushing the product development and marketing team to incorporate green product marketing in their products portfolio.
Environmental Issues Caused by Business Practices
It has been seen that a great deal of damage caused to the environment is basically done by the way companies conduct their business processes. According to PRI Association Research (2011) there are many indicators causing this damage to the world’s environment health such as; waning of air quality, water scarcity, reducing animal habitats, degradation of ecosystem, steeping diseases, decrease of trees, increasing droughts, and changing climatic trend etc. All these drivers are influencing a great deal, threatening the capability of our economy, in provision of sustainability and growth for all individuals (PRI Association, 2011).
The figure given below of Value Chain Analysis depicts a very clear picture of how industries and businesses impacts the eco system causing environmental issues impacting the daily lives of humans.
Extensive knowledge and increased awareness of these environmental issues has created an identifiable shift in the way consumers purchase their products. Consumer attitudes have shown a jump towards the ‘go green’ lifestyle (Singh & Pandey, 2012). Big polls conducted have shown that the idea of going green highly favoured, and the customers are keenly trying to reduce their impact of product usage over the environment (Bonini & Oppenheim, 2007). This is the reason why organisations, after assessing this behavioural shift, are positively trying to gain advantage in their business industry through exploiting the possibilities in the green marketing sustainable development (Cherian & Jacob, 2012).
The response of organisations towards the growing demand of environmental friendly product includes; a) promotion of environmental friendly traits of their products or services, b) development of new products (concerning waste reduction, climatic control, sustainability and energy efficiency), and c) redesigning of existing products concerning environmental ethics.
The figure below explains a shift in eco-efficient services over the last era which is because of the growing interest in sustainable development of the services. These eco-friendly services are seen as reducing the environmental impact (Zwan & Bhamra, 2003).
Thus in order to truly create a sustainable environment, it is vital for the organisations to change their economic working models and make their current business practices a part of the “Environment Friendly” solution, rather than being a part of the problem (Cherian & Jacob, 2012).
Environmental Audit - how ‘green’ is my firm?
“The Body Shop”, is said to be a pioneer in corporate social responsibility (CSR). The founder of The Body Shop - Anita Roddick was behind her company’s involvement in contributing towards and believing in that they have some responsibilities toward society (The Body Shop, 2013)
She was the first one to say no to animal testing of her products. She made her organisation stand up to support causes including; Environmental Protection, Animal Rights, Human Rights, and Community Trade (Liodice, 2010). The core values (The Body Shop, 2009) of The Body Shop that are the drivers for social and environmental change are;
· To Defend Human Rights.
· To go against animal Testing
· To activate self-esteem.
· To Support Community Trade
· To Protect our Planet
All the values have their own policies and everybody from supplier to retailer has to understand these values and work on them as their code of conduct. They have commitments with their suppliers who guarantee that their resources are natural and fair (The Body Shop, 2013).
The Body Shop introduced bottles of 100% recycled material; they used decomposable foaming ingredients in their products, they never tested their products on animals, and they refused the usage of any raw materials in their products that were categorised as eco-toxic or persistent. The Body Shop owns a foundation that is devoted for supporting human and civil rights. The profit from their sale of Soft Hands – Kind Heart Hand Cream is 100% being donated to a foundation supporting the cause of sex trafficking of children. For this cause The Body Shop is able to raise $ 2 Million (Huffington Post, 2011).
Its evidence can be seen; when in 1985 posters were sponsored for Greenpeace, offering a petition against animal testing in EU. Their contributions also focused on duty to provide environmental friendly products, with a desire to improve their working process and the lives of other individuals globally (Liodice, 2010). Moreover they source their products with responsibility, monitor what they make, distribute and package their products with the least carbon impact as possible, and they are marketing green to make their products look good and feel good.
In short, it can be said that, The Body Shop is very Green, because it focuses on issues like; Human Rights, Animal Protection and Environment.
Evaluation of Green Marketing Mix Opportunities
Till now, the in-depth evaluation of The Body Shop has given potential proofs that the organisation is embracing green policies in its entire value chain; from product development to distribution. The values chain figure presented below show stages where we go through in developing, sourcing and then selling out products to our consumers by identifying their buying behaviour and purchase power.
The Research and Development team does a great deal of efforts in creating products that are both effective and ethical.
Examples of such practices can be the use of synthetic musk as an alternative to real musk in The Body Shop’s White Musk Range and the use of Jojoba Oil as a replacement of whale blubber by product. The ‘Save the Whale campaign’ being run by The Body Shop foundation along with the Greenpeace is its evidence of being a green marketer. Besides this, hair products – a new eco-conscious range have ingredients that do not leave product residing in water, which can be dangerous to aquatic life.
The next phase of Sourcing and Production i.e. what is our product made up of, is very important for us; the company has designed the most extensive sourcing programs. When the design plan of a new product is developed we work our best to identify the best way of making, packaging and marketing the product, which do not just include money generating prospects but also ethical considerations. Thus for that matter The Body Shop try to include at least one of the community fair trade ingredient in all its products. We also put a lot of efforts in checking that manufacturing and packaging which should come from recyclable and sustainable sources. The figure below shows from where our fair community trade ingredients, gifts and accessories come from, on which we trust to be highly ethical and environment friendly.
Distribution and Packaging is also in line with green environmental policy i.e. the company is shipping less annually, not just for saving money but also reducing carbon-dioxide emission, by using lip sheets instead of pallets.
Packaging sustainability is yet another area where The Body Shop has worked vigorously in order to reduce the amount of packaging material used. It is seen that most products are not packaged at all and the products actually packed, utilised recycled material wherever possible. For example: use of recycled plastic (post-consumer recyclate - PCR) is used dependent over the product requirements.
The figure below presents the green supply chain management, which shows green innovation, green production, green recycling, green supply, green certification and green logistics (Benq, 2010). All these elements are very well present in our organisation and The Body Shop has set targets to achieve greater green environment sustainability, though its product development and marketing strategies.
Closure in Comparison with Marketing Theories
It is seen that people are more anxious about sustainability and environmental related issues reflecting more awareness and thus marketers and product developer’s aim have changed towards creating of environmental friendly products (Mendleson & Polonsky, 1995; Ottman, 2011).
It was seen that The Body Shop used green marketing as basic business strategy for which consumers also responded positively (Shanshan and Zifei, 2010).
. The CSR has made the green marketing a going trend and is a subset of these CSR strategies, thus it is further classified into four theories i.e.; the instrumental theory, political theory, integrative theory and ethical theory (Garriga & Mele, 2004). Each of these theories has different dimensions like; instrumental theories focus on strategies that help in achievement of competitive advantage through making profits whilst taking part in social causes (Menon & Menon, 1997). Integration theories relate stakeholder management with the social norms (Osterhus, 1997) and green marketing (Rivera-Camino, 2007). However, the focus of ethical CSR theories is based on doing the right thing for society including; human rights, environmental sustainability and doing common good (Garriga & Mele, 2004). Of all the theories defined, it can be easily understood that The Body Shop uses Ethical CSR theories.
Another study found that consumers prefer to pay more for products that are linked with charity because they feel that they are helping poor people by contributing them (Daniel and McManus, 2010). This is what the body shop believes in that, they do not just want their products to be perceived and preferred by consumers because they are environmentally sustainable. They want their product to be good in making the consumer satisfied by their product qualities (Junna, 2011). The Example below explains the CSR and consumer satisfaction strategies inculcated by The Body Shop in its green marketing:
Conclusion & Recommendations
The Body Shop understands the global marketing, consumer relationship management and corporate social responsibility at its core. Their basic motive is to create products in a manner that are environmentally stable and are not harmful to humans. They sustain human and animal rights and also understand the social responsibility of taking care of poor nations. Thus, they are very much into green marketing using green environmental strategies at every step of their working process, reducing wastage and packaging. Their marketing mix is wholly involved in balancing the eco-friendly conservational business process in alignment with the planet protection. The only thing that seemed to be missing is the official process to be aligned with more ecological working. They need to preserve energy sources in their office work environment and also need to take a look at the pricing of their marketing mix element as the products are highly expensive and nor affordable by poor people. Besides this, the consumers are happy with the product and satisfied with their eco-friendly manufacturing process.
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