Assess how companies can be responsible social marketers. As a result of current environmental issues such as global warming, the general public has become more concerned about environmental issues. How does this affect marketing, and how does this affect consumers? Discuss your own buying habits in relation to socially responsible marketing and firms of endearment.
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I won't purchase products that contribute to toxic indoor air quality or clothing toxicity, like those with component parts made of plastics manufactured in China or clothes treated with formaldehyde. I do buy products made of organic or all natural fibers, with no man-made fibers, especially acetates and synthetic wool. Firms that produce and sell these are on my personal Black List and receive letters of complaint from me.
Personally, I think we all need to think about what we buy and in particular where it comes from. A big recent movement has been to try and by locally and in season rather than buying fruit and vegetables that are not in season in our home country and therefore have to be shipped over miles to reach us. This is certainly something that we try to do, as the cost of transporation, both in terms of money but also environmentally, is something that we are becoming increasingly aware of.
I admire companies that try to do things to help the environment, and I wish there were more such companies. For instance, I wish there were far more use of paper cartons than of plastic bottles. All else being equal, I will definitely purchase the product that is environmentally friendly. I went out of my way, for instance, to buy a "natural" weed-killer this summer, one whose chemicals would not harm a nearby creek. It cost much more and was difficult to find, but I didn't want to be responsible for contaminating a creek full of fish and used by lots of animals for drinking.
I noticed the other day that the "green awards" for environmentally friendly companies were listed in a recent issue of a popular news magazine like Newsweek. But what is interesting about this is the I only know that because every company that was listed in the report bragged about that in a Twitter posting within a couple of days of that article being published. Clearly, companies know that Americans are interested in this topic, and are using social media to promote themselves in this area. Perhaps the whole issue is a win-win for the companies themselves and the consumers who care about such things.
Another solution is to reduce buying from any firm, of any sort. I have radically reduced my expenditures on many items over recent years by simply realizing that I already have more than enough and therefore I don't buy more. Yes, I buy groceries - from local sources when possible, from responsible producers when I must. Yes, I buy gas for my car - but I walk or ride my bicycle whenever possible.
Personally, I tend to use a firm's environmental image as somethng of a factor in what I buy, though by no means the only one. For example, I am more likely to buy things from Wal-Mart today since they have succeeded in improving their image by doing things like using more fuel-efficient trucks and pushing for less packaging.
Since we are in a position to think responsibly about how we spend our money, and not just scraping by and having to make decisions based solely on price, there is an element of environmentalism and social responsibility in our consumption. Companies obviously are aware of this and have attempted to produce more organic, all natural, etc. products that consumers may be drawn to even though they are still buying the same brand.
It is now possible to purchase electricity from all-renewable sources in certain markets and of course power supply companies tout this as a way to be responsible while still getting exactly what you want, just paying a little more. There are also marketing schemes designed around making products appear more "green" such as Shell and Exxon placing ads in magazines showcasing their social responsibility and their desire to find more "green" forms of energy. The goal is apparently to offset their major profit motive which involves using and selling as much fossil fuel as possible.
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