By Kinka Mondal
Global warming, today, is not a mere word, we are precisely living with it and dealing with all its consequences. According to NASA, Global Warming can be interpreted as the long-term heating of the Earth’s climate system since the pre-industrial period (1850-1900) due to obvious reason of uncontrollable human activities. It is no more limited in the pages of text books of schools, one can easily find this topic is being discussed even in a drawing- room discussion- may be before making a purchase of “eco-friendly” refrigerator or CFC free air-conditioner to deal with the extreme temperature. The well-informed humans are even ready to pay a few pence extra to contribute towards the “green” products. Green Products are broadly classified as the products which are not so harmful for the environment as compared to other conventional products available in the market.
Apart from the common people’s point of view, the big corporate houses all over the world are also into producing “environment friendly” product lines because of some internal and external factors.
Let us understand the external factors first: the governing bodies of any given country usually set some guidelines to be followed by the organizations while producing. There are certain standards (Eco-standards), marks and labeling determined to standardize the eco-friendly products by the government. Also, consumers are nowadays, more interested to purchase eco-friendly products.
Now coming to the internal and most important factors to understand the motivation behind the organisation’s eagerness to offer green product lines: for the sake of competitive advantage many companies are trying to implement this in their product lines, for example- The Body Shop had launched wide range of cosmetic products, claiming that the cosmetics are made up of Eco-friendly natural ingredients, which certainly provided them a huge advantage over their competitors in the marketplace with conventional product offerings.
The next factor which is most justifiable is – corporate social responsibility. Every organisation follows a mandate in terms of serving several societal causes. With time, the widespread effects of global warming and the collective eagerness to save the world from its consequences have shifted the paradigm of the activities under this category from only labor related or philanthropic works to being focused on energy and environmental designs. So, investors have been also very altruistic to invest their assets into such causes.
Now we would consider a few consequences and try to correlate those with Global Warming- and would try to analyze how businesses have tried to exploit this scenario.
The first concern is “Green Myopia”. In this situation, organization often forgets to emphasize on “consumer benefits” to focus more on “green benefits’ of their products. This over-emphasis leads to a situation where consumers fail to understand the benefits they would get from those products and it ends up failing miserably. This topic, here, is important to understand that organisations many a time try to overuse a real life crisis in terms of getting more profitable business but most of the time, because of the ambiguity in their long term goals, faces major failures.
Now, another point is when the organisations start to exploit this cause for increasing their profit margin by false claims. To explain this, it is important to understand that in most of the cases ‘Eco-friendly’ products are quite expensive than that of the conventional products, because-
1. It requires workforce intensive production methods.
2. Small level of manufacturing.
3. Time consuming.
4. High certification costs.
These reasonings are quite valid when the Eco-friendly products charge extra. But most of the big corporate houses do not skip a chance to increase their revenue, even if it is by claiming something which is not true. Here comes the term “Green Washing” -organisations claim that their products are to be Eco-friendly but, it is nowhere different than that of conventional products. For example- the American multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil claimed they are reducing greenhouse gas emission, whereas, they were only doing the opposite. LG also used the same trick by labeling “Eco-friendly” tags on the refrigerators whereas, their claims were vague.
It has been observed that many organisations’ aim was to serve the environment and look for sustainability. But their inappropriate harsh planning had led to unprecedented out-turn. In some cases, following conservative ways in a polished way makes a lot of differences.
To prevent the further damage of the mother earth from the effects of global warming, a holistic approach should be taken and followed strictly. The sensitive issues like this must be taken care of in a way without harming the ecological balances.
Though there are many stringent protocols that have been decided and implemented by the governments worldwide, some misuses are unavoidable if we consider the discussion here. There are many other ways to investigate corporate malpractices in relation to Global Warming. I have tried to restrict my opinion on some of the marketing strategies in this article.
To conclude, I further would mention that we can not ignore the global warming and the outcomes of it. There is no point to deny the adverse consequences of it. But I affirm with the fact that globally for the financial gains many a times organisations have more polluted this issue. The ambiguity in this matter is nothing but the result of misleading approaches by corporate for their personal and professional gains.
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