What is Green Marketing, and the Pitfalls of Green Branding

Green Marketing

What do you get from reading this page?

In short, Green Marketing is about honesty, transparency and effective communication. In addition, you will learn about:

  • general knowledge of sustainable communication
  • how we work with green marketing, and
  • possibility to participate in online course
  • concrete tips and advice to get started yourself

But where should your focus be as you embark on the green marketing and communications journey? The main point is undoubtedly to avoid greenwashing. Sustainable branding without a team is downright suicidal, and it's going to hurt you. If you lie about greening, you will most likely end up in a 'green shitstorm' and potentially a big fine.

Quite simply; avoiding greenwashing by being honest and transparent in your marketing also results in ethical marketing.

A great gift worth taking with you!

Concepts of green communication and marketing

Below is a short list of terms and concepts that explain what green marketing is all about.

In short, it's about using sustainability strategically in your marketing of green products, services and messages. Listen to a good podcast on the subject here.

Greenwashing in short, is communicating that you are green, when in reality the bottom of the iceberg tells a very different story. Something you as a company are definitely not recommended to do if you want to take care of your reputation. A modern and good example of greenwashing is VW with their cheating software that made their cars greener than they really were.

A bit like green marketing, but here the focus is solely on ethics. Conversely, ethics can be many things, so it is not just about sustainability in terms of climate, environment and biodiversity. For example, ethical marketing can be about not branding products that are addictive to humans. Fortunately, VW has changed tack and is making a major switch to electric cars.

Strongly linked to marketing, but communication is broader. It involves how you communicate internally as well as externally. That's why it's actually more complex than marketing, because it involves the whole organisation.

A bonus concept that we think is important to include. The question is, in the current world situation, can sustainable companies exist at all? The answer is probably no. Therefore, the concept covers the fact that a company does everything to work with sustainability, even if it knows that a 100% sustainable company does not exist at the moment.

Your brand is affected by everything you, your employees and your board do. Even what your customers do. That's why green branding is really about everything your company stands for, does and says. Green branding therefore requires a paradigm shift in your organisation if you are serious about positioning yourself as a green brand. In a Danish context, Naturli' in particular is exemplary of a green brand.

How to get started on the green marketing journey

Green Marketing is for organisations and brands already on the sustainable journey

OBS: If you need an overview of your company's sustainability and green marketing, start with Green Shortcut

Illustration of how green shortcut together with green marketing works

How we analyse green brands and organisations

First, we identify where you are on the scale. Either you're just getting started, which is why you're "LEAN GREEN", or you're actually quite far along in your process, which is why you're "EXTREME GREEN". Subsequently, we use the checklist below, which we would caution can be a mouthful (-; to identify opportunities for your organisation and brand.

an image of a model used for green analysis used in green marketing and green promotion

Green Marketing as the Source of the Competitive Advantage of the Business, Moravcikova D, Krizanova A, Kliestikova J, Rypakova M. Sustainability. 2017

How to get started on the green marketing journey

Checklist for green marketing

Use the checklist to identify where you have untapped potential. Contact us without obligation if you have any questions.

  1. Do you know how the whole sustainability "trend" affects your business indirectly as well as directly, both now and in the future, and what you need to act on? 
  2. What are your customer segments in terms of sustainability when it comes to your products, brand, services, marketing and reputation?
  3. Do you / your marketing and communications department understand how to use the new green marketing paradigm versus traditional marketing
  4. Do you do a life cycle assessment and/or carbon footprinting of your new and existing products and do you have a short and long term plan for optimising the products?
  5. When you develop new products and business models, do you think about sustainability holistically? For example, how to convert a product to be more sustainable but with the same features and price.
  6. Do your customers and clients know that you are sustainable / are you strategically integrating sustainability into your business?
  7. Are you 100% transparent and honest in your communication by telling about both the good and bad efforts in sustainability? 
  8. Do you engage and partner with stakeholders (retailers, suppliers, government/municipal and NGOs) and educate everything from consumers to employees through communications and marketing?
  9. Do you take inspiration from other similar companies like yourself that are leaders in both product and sustainability?

Ready for sustainable communication?

Of course, not all of the above steps need to be met before you can start communicating. We believe strongly in the process. An iterative process where you are constantly learning, developing and acting. The methods of Lean Startup we take a lot of inspiration from. In addition, we also take inspiration from Guide to communicating the world's goals, where we have grouped the main areas for action below: 



3 steps to communicating the SDGs

How are sustainable actions combined with all company activities (organisation, products, value chain, communication, etc.)?

Processing method

  1. Identify the least sustainable areas of the business and create a turnaround here or
  2. Choose one SDG that is closest to your business
    Important: The 17 SDGs are not a checklist, existing practices need to be matched with
  3. If a major transformation is decided → the brand design should also reflect this (logo, website etc)

Use ambassadors to communicate the new strategy and transition. Read more about "the 3 percent rule" which is about 3% good influencers can influence 90% of the organization. Not necessarily CEOs finding these ambassadors, but a comprehensive network and culture analysis

The strategic and tactical objectives must be anchored in the communication and marketing through tone, wording and images → in addition, it must be consistent across all channels (external, internal, web, SoMe and physical elements)

Perhaps the Green Marketing course is for you instead?

We have developed an online video course with a total of 10 chapters, which will not make you an expert in green marketing, but will give you a good starting point. Register and learn more about the course at greenmarketing.com

Green marketing is future-proof marketing

In just one year, companies working strategically on sustainability have increased from 12 to 22%*

*Applies from 2017 - 2018. Source is the Confederation of Danish Industry

How do we see Green Marketing at TRIBE Media?

Two entry points:
1) Green Shortcut is a dialogue tool that identifies where you are on your journey.
2) Green Marketing + Conversion is the iterative process that the wheel below also illustrates. Green transformation is of course the foundation. Marketing comes next.  

Green Shortcut

Dialogue tool that finds and tells your untold green stories internally and externally. A kickstarter for sustainable change

Green Transition

We know at least as much as sustainability experts, but we focus on communication. That's why we work with leading experts.

Green Marketing

Knowledge, strategy and communication for businesses with and without marketing department as well agency.  

Green communication is much more than just avoiding green washing

In the future, we will not get around the fact that all marketing is green. That's why we also see, companies using sustainability strategically increases.

 Exactly Green marketing is talking about the existing stories of your business. Through green communication, you get automatically generated data that gives you a data-driven basis to say: "Maybe we should focus even more on sustainability". We're already seeing it: Sustainability is good business.

Green history? I have not". Most likely yes. You just haven't discovered it yet. That's why we've developed the Green Shortcut, which finds your untold but already existing green stories. 

The focus is not on changing your company's product - we have green transition for that. Instead, we focus on highlighting the green in your business.

Green Shortcut is the first step

Ready to find out how Green Marketing and Sustainability can help your business? Take the Green Shortcut test now

Even if you are in the process of going green, the Green Shortcut may still be relevant for you. The shortcut is a dialogue tool that will hopefully get you thinking and lead you on your journey. Of course, we hope we can help you with part of the journey.

Tag Green Shortcut test hereand identify where you are on your journey.

Contact us

We help you now, so you have a business for today and tomorrow

Curious how it works? Have a chat with us. Our green marketing heart beats, and yes, anyone can join if the desire to think long-term and transparently is present.

Wherever you are, we'll help you now and in the future

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Merry Christmas and thank you for your cooperation

No matter how much or little we've talked this year, our collaboration still means a lot to us at the Tribe.

That's why we want to give you some special Christmas gift that might help you in 2022. 

40% discount on a video or photo to the website or social media.

The gift can be picked up at our office dalbygade 40U 1. floor or you can book an online conversation in my, Benjamin, calendar.

I look forward to talking to you. Merry Christmas!