Sustainable Marketing – How can it be defined?
• Sustainable Marketing is the process of creating, communicating,
and delivering value to customers in such a way that both natural
and human capital are preserved or enhanced throughout
(Martin and Schouten, 2014, p. 18).
• Belz and Peattie (2009, p. 31) give a two-part explanation of
planning, organizing, implementing and controlling marketing
resources and programmes to satisfy consumers’ wants and
needs, while considering social and environmental criteria and
meeting corporate objectives.
Secondly, emphasising the long-term relationship ‘… building and
maintaining sustainable relationships with customers, the social
environment and the natural environment’.
Three Pillars of Sustainability
Triad of Capital for Triple Bottom Line
Dyllick and Hockerts (2002, p. 132)
Economically sustainable companies
guarantee (financial, tangible and
intangible) at any time cash flow
sufficient to ensure liquidity while
producing a persistent above average
return to their shareholders.
Ecologically sustainable companies use only
natural resources that are consumed at a rate
below the natural reproduction, or at a rate
below the development of substitutes. They do
not cause emissions that accumulate in the
environment at a rate beyond the capacity of
the natural system to absorb and assimilate
these emissions. Finally they do not engage in
activity that degrades eco-system services.
Socially sustainable companies add
value to the communities within which
they operate by increasing the human
capital of individual partners as well as
furthering the societal capital of these
communities. They manage social
capital in such a way that stakeholders
can understand its motivations and
broadly agree with the company’s
• Green Marketing is described as the holistic management process
responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying the requirements of
customers and society, in a profitable and sustainable way (Peattie, 1995).
• Green marketing involves applying sustainable thinking holistically, from
production to post-purchasing service, aiming to balance the company’s
need for profit with the wider need to protect the environment.
• From a business perspective green marketing is potentially profitable;
• Green marketing contributes to more efficient production and consumption
therefore provides potential differentiation opportunities;
• However, green marketing often needs to be incentivised by the
government, or the regulatory or business environment;
• Consumer doubts still persist about green product performance;
• There is also an issue with exaggeration and overestimation of the impact
of green marketing efforts.
• Social Marketing (SM) is defined as the systematic application of marketing
concepts and techniques, to achieve specific behavioural goals for a social or
public good’ (French and Blair-Stevens, 2006: 4).
• SM aims to make social change by changing people’s behaviour for the benefit
of society as a whole;
• SM provides a behaviour change tool that stakeholders can use to target
individual behaviour change to promote sustainability;
• While SM aims to deliver social good, not everyone will necessarily welcome
attempts by government departments or others to impose their agenda on
populations who resist change and what they see as social engineering;
• The source of social marketing initiatives is an issue, as commercially
sponsored SM can be treated with scepticism (Hastings and Angus, 2008).
• SM is not only well placed to change people’s immediate behaviours, but has
potential as a tool for changing values that are consistent with prevailing
institutions and then recreating this in daily behaviour.