Is green marketing over?

For years the debate has raged over the role "green marketing" would play within the sustainability movement, the power of increasingly aware and responsible consumers "voting with their dollars." Some have warned that it takes a lot more than just buying green to attain sustainability, and according to market observer Joel Makower this is definitely the case. In his greenbiz.org article "Green marketing is over. Let's move on!" Makower points out that over the past 20 years consumers have not been willing to vote with their dollars, that few products have been able to capture more than a tiny slice of the U.S. market. 

Part of the problem is the higher prices or "sustainability tax" associated with green products, says Freya Willams, arguing that green products show cost less, not more.  Another part of the problem is that many consumers are skeptical about companies' green claims.

Makower gives a series of reasons why green market should be "put to rest." Aside from simply "not working" and remaining a "niche activity," it tends to delude people into thinking they are helping.

On the other hand, many companies are making the transition to more sustainable policies, methods and approaches -- simply because it cuts costs, elimiates waste and inefficiency, improves quality and engages employees, i.e., for basic business reasons.

If green marketing "isn't the way to make change," then what is? Makover points out the need to keep pushing companies to be transparent and accountable; either to get companies to do this or someone else. 

Is green marketing over?

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