Environmental Concerns and Markets in India

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Marketers are called upon to embark upon rapid economic development in India under deregulated and liberalised economic environment. The task ahead is to ensure that in all our economic and social processes, we take full account of the environmental costs. Now we are in a situation where land, air and water degradation already constitutes a serious problem in our country. Growing air and water pollution is seriously affecting the quality of most of our lives. As development proceeds, the use of energy and natural resources will also increase. The challenge ahead is to adopt a pattern and style of development that will not put unsustainable pressure on our resources, particularly, nonrenewable ones. Industry must recognise that they have a clear responsibility, not only towards their shareholders, but what is increasingly recognised the world over as stakeholders, particularly towards consumers and the public. That is, in addition to shareholders, industry managements have accountability towards consumers, workers. citizens and, of course, to future generations. That is what sustainable development means; a system of growth that does not limit the options of future generations. It is in this context that environmental audits and accounting all environental costs acquire an urgency. We have to create environment mendly standards without recreating the old license or regulatory system. Industry through self-regulating should provide protection of the environment and energy conservation as well conservation of other natural resources.

May be there should be countervailing powers utilised by consumers, commuters and environmentalists. It is really a matter of raising environmental consciousness. We need pressures and mechanisms (in the form of regulations) that can good industry and marketers to constantly use new environment friendly techniques. We should also lay emphasis on renewable substitute where available, on energy saving and efficiency in all our economic processes. RecKless industrialisation, unlimited consumerism leading to very high consumption are responsible for the present ecological damages.

Environmental Friendly Products

Concerted environmental campaigning has created a strong public opinion for environmental concerns, and as consumer awareness increases, consumer preferences will be expressed through market behaviour and by stakeholders of companies, compelling corporate sector to cater to changing demands created by consumer-citizens. The marketers will realise the seriousness of environmental concerns and issues. They will learn to opt for, and market their product as, environmental friendly’.

Preference for green consumerism and environment friendly goods will encourage marketers to add a green tint to their marketing strategies reflecting real environmental considerations. Marketers will have to give top priority to environmental protection in India within a few years. In fact, to promote eco friendly products will become a social responsibility.. Preference for environment friendly goods will itself create immense marketing opportunities for manufacturers. Ecomark labels on the products can be an effective promotion/marketing tool.

Green Consumerism

The products demanding immediate Ecomarking are textiles, toilet soaps, detergents, paper, paints, packages,pesticides, and drugs. These consumer goods with Ecomark labels can spur the demand for ‘Green Consumerism’ which is the prime aim of the Ecomark scheme. Later on we can take other consumer products such as petrol, lubricating oil, plastics, wood substitutes, food additives, cosmetics, batteries, agricultural products, etc., to get the Ecomark stamp.

The successful operation of the Ecomark rests on
several assumptions. 1. There are products which can be demonstrated to be environment friendly and can be Ecomarked 2. The consumers are environmentally conscious and are willing to buy them, and they are ready to exercise a choice if alternatives are available. 3. The manufacturers are also having environmental awareness and show keen interest in the Ecomark. The Central Pollution Control Board in India is the authority to implement Ecomark scheme on voluntary basis. However, so far we do not have even soaps/stamp.

Some Potential Future Trends-Consumer Education product information;

●there is greater consumer awareness and demand for there is a trend towards a more open and accountin Eastern Europe);

●able society (as witnessed by recent developments specific consumer education is now well established in schools and colleges;

●Information Technology developments make information more easy to generate and disseminate;

●significant competitive advantage may be obtained from the marketing use of Management Information Systems (MIS), and the provision of information to trade and customer alike.

Implications for Marketers of Green Marketing

The issues involved in green marketing may eventually imply a change

(i) in the prevailing quality of living standard in western countries; and

(ii) in the basics of consumer behaviour. For instance, consumption or purchase convenience may become qualified. Socks, hosiery and clothing will for example be of higher quality, last longer and not need darning or mending too often! But the customer will pay more for convenience, reflecting the value of the time that this convenience affords him or her. He or she may consume more quality but less quantity.

Forecasters suggest that consumers may return to demanding product attributes favouring quality, reliability, durability and safety. This change in behaviour reflects the beginning of a rejection of the “throwaway society”. The concept of the throwaway society is increasingly seen as untenable and unsustainable.

(b) Sustainability is seen as a key issue within green marketing. A fundamental question is whether the marketing process is environmentally sustainable, or does it exploit that environment on an irrecoverable basis? For instance:

(a)tropical deforestation, short term ranching, soil erosion, flooding and desertification; OR
the planting of tropical or temperate hardwoods; the use of properly managed hardwood forests for furniture and construction materials (etc); proper replanting to maintain ecology and habitat.

The issue of sustainability can be placed within the context of consumption. Sustainability may become a key benefit required within the attribute set considered appropriate for any particular usage requirement.

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