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Sustainability Green Marketing, Research Paper Example

Pages: 8

Words: 2113

Research Paper

This research examines the concept of green initiatives and the benefits of using solar energy as opposed to fossil fuels. The research highlights the processes of both fossil fuel consumption and the use of harnessing solar energy via solar panels. Additional analysis is conducted to compare how the use of fossil fuels impacts the environment versus the use of solar energy’s environmental impact. A literature review focuses on solar energy perspectives and current trends in solar energy use and green marketing and sales of solar energy panels in the United States. The research further examines the role of green marketing strategies and how this affects businesses in the industry, as it relates to the purchasing behaviors of environmentally-conscious consumers. The research concludes with an analysis of new perspectives for solar power, as a green marketing initiative, in the decades to come.

Introduction

Each day, around the globe, there is something in the media mentioning “going green” or green initiatives. Many people and businesses, across the globe, are embracing this concept out of concern for the environment and its future inhabitants.

The going green initiative is also associated with more economical spending; consequently, it is good for both the environment and the economy, particularly as it relates to businesses.

One aspect of the green initiative that is trending is the use of solar energy as opposed to the use of fossil fuels. On a national scale, solar power use is a significant focus among environmentally-conscience residents and businesses.

Solar power companies use solar technologies to manufacture solar panels used to harness the sun’s energy, which can power many homes and businesses with heating, cooling, lighting, electricity, and hot water (Solar Energy, n.d.).

Literature Review

Currently, the world is dependent on the burning of fossil fuels as its main energy source; however, the world’s awareness of alternative energy sources, such as solar power, is becoming more apparent. Advantageously, solar energy companies are implementing green marketing initiatives to cater to growing consumer demand for environmentally-safe products.

Green Marketing

In today’s market, it is important for companies to use strategic marketing strategies to remain competitive and garner larger shares of their markets, in order to increase profits. These strategies include competitive pricing, quality of products, quality performance and excellent customer service. Additionally, in recent times, effective strategic marketing initiatives include green marketing strategies.

Green Marketing Strategies

According to Mathur & Mathur (2000), the green movement in the United States has garnered significant mainstream attention as a major social movement in recent years. Additionally, the green movement affects everyday life activities including buyer behavior and purchasing decisions in various markets. These same buyers are becoming more consciously aware of the importance of protecting the environment and are often motivated in their purchasing decisions by companies and businesses that embrace the green initiative.

In order to secure the loyalty of existing consumers who are becoming more environmentally aware, companies need to be proactive as it relates to environmental issues locally, nationally and globally. This is best done when firms create specific departments and positions within their organizations to management environmental marketing strategies (Mathur & Mathur, 2000). This is an effective way to improve green marketing processes within an organization, and to develop efficient environmental task forces within the organization to lead environmental initiatives.

Therefore, it is in a company’s best interest to modify its behavior in relation to how consumers modify their behaviors as it relates to the desire to purchase green products and patronize businesses that show concern for the environment. With this in mind, it is important for companies to incorporate green marketing into their strategic marketing plans. However, Mathur & Mathur (2000) report that developing green marketing strategies should not be limited to national boundaries.

Many corporations already have a global presence, and in a global economy, developing global environmental strategies is necessary for effective overall marketing success. Green marketing strategies should reach across global and national branding and imaging.

An article on SBA.gov states that the addition of “green” claims and eco-friendly labels to products, as part of an already well-positioned marketing strategy, can enhance the company’s image and brand awareness. This is because today’s consumers are more environmentally conscious and respond favorably to companies that embrace this concept as well.

The article also states that green marketing initiatives should include certification of products and using eco-friendly labels to let consumers know about the certifications. This will help encourage existing customer brand loyalty and add new customers to the customer base.

Many consumers support the concept of decreasing carbon foot prints on the environment and are open to marketing exposure for green products such as solar panels for harnessing solar energy.

Solar Energy

According to BusinessDictionary.com, solar energy is electromagnetic energy, which is actually solar radiation. The sun transmits only about one billionth of the totality of this energy to the earth, and it is what sustains all terrestrial life. Additionally, this energy “amounts to about 420 trillion kilowatt-hours, and is several thousand times greater than all the energy used by all the people” (Solar Energy, 2012).

To use solar energy, it is necessary to harness it by capturing it from the sun via solar heaters or light, and this is done via the use of solar panels.

Solar Panels

Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity via photovoltaic (solar) cells. These are the same type of cells used in solar calculators and space satellites and work by a photoelectric effect, which happens when matter emits electrons when exposed to light (Physics.org, n.d.). With solar panels, the sun’s radiation (light) contacts the solar cells in the solar panels and transfers energy into them.

Solar panels are manufactured by a growing number of renewable energy companies across the globe. According to MarketingGreenPower.com (2012), renewable energy companies are poised to take advantage of growing public interest for powering homes and businesses with sustainable solar energy via solar panels being made available by new sustainable energy enterprises emerging into the market.

The development of new sustainable energy enterprises is increasing, particularly in Europe, Asia and the United States. This is true despite an unstable economy due, in part, to government support. However, there are both issue and benefit perspectives of the use of solar energy (MarketingGreenPower.com, 2012).

The best benefit of using solar energy is the fact that it will never become obsolete or run out. Scientific studies show that the sun will continue to produce useable energy, even when its hydrogen is depleted (Solar Energy, 2012). Other benefits of using solar energy include sustainability, utility independence, efficiency, tax incentives, and the fact that it is environmentally green.

Advantage Perspective of Solar Energy Use (Whitburn, 2012)

  • Sustainability – Solar energy is a natural source of power that is permanent and continually available for use. It is also completely renewable for power such as fueling, lighting and heating water. This means that solar power can be used now without compromising the ability to use it in the future.
  • Utility Independence – Solar energy use can potentially eliminate the need for complete dependence on public utility services as the sole power supply source. Solar power can work as a supplement to traditional power service.
  • Efficiency – There is very little maintenance required to create solar energy. Solar panels are very self-sufficient when they are up to their maximum efficiency.
  • Incentives and Rebates – Many federal and state government tax incentives and rebates are available for residents and businesses who install solar panels and solar hot water systems.
  • Environmentally Green – With the use of solar power, there is no adverse mark on the environment, neither by solar power facilities nor residential or commercial solar panels. Solar power produces zero emissions and can be stored to produce power even when the sun is not shining.

Disadvantage Perspective of Solar Energy Use (Anderson, 2012)

One drawback to the development of solar power has been that of the cost green technology manufacturing, which is passed on to the consumers. Although solar energy is free, the initial cost of buying and installing solar panel systems are costly. To help combat this issue, the U.S. Department of Energy reports that new incentives from the government and manufacturing technological advancements will drive the cost of developing solar power technologies down by the year 2015. Additionally, there are government subsidy programs, tax incentives and rebates available for businesses and homeowners who install solar panels. Also, the cost of solar panels is likely to go down when new technologies emerge into the market.

Another issue relating to the use of solar energy has been the fact that solar power is not possible at night when the sun is not shining. Solutions to this include the development of ways to harness and store the sun’s energy for use when it is not shining; thus, the need for the creation of “hybrid solar-fossil fuel utility projects” (Anderson, 2012).

Findings and Implications

My analysis of a new perspective on solar energy use is on the basis of evaluation. The Union of Concerned Scientists (2012) website states that “solar energy supports all life on Earth and is the basis for almost every form of energy we use.” The National Geographic website states that “Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year.” Solar energy is nothing new to us. We have been using solar powered devices such as calculators, clocks and watches for decades.

However, the world is still working on making solar powered energy use a mainstream occurrence. This country’s clean energy initiatives will attract funding for building more solar plants. This will be a step toward gaining momentum in encouraging the use of solar power in this country, particularly for businesses.

A report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) analyzes how many businesses, governments, organizations and companies in the United States are managing their companies more effectively by implementing solar energy systems. This is a way to maximize profits and investment dollars for companies.

Part of the lure of the implementation of solar energy systems for businesses is the decreasing costs of solar energy technologies, and this equates to decreases in operating costs. SEIA also reports that, for businesses in some areas, the cost of implementing solar systems is less than the cost of electricity from the utility companies. With this decrease in costs, companies can pass savings on to their customers, while making the customers aware of their green movement initiatives.

Green marketing strategies should be a top priority for businesses, if they want to remain competitive in the marketplace. This is because the green movement is spreading quickly and more people are being exposed to green marketing through various marketing channels.

Conclusion

It is my conclusion that even though sunlight is free, the cost of harnessing its power and converting it to usable solar power is expensive. These costs include materials, handling, manufacturing, production, installation, maintenance, etc. Consequently, there is considerable upfront cost for both retailers and consumers. However, in time, these costs will be made up for in savings by using solar power and the increase in demand for solar products from the growth of the emerging market.

Additionally, tax incentives or rebates from using solar panels, as demand increases, will likely increase as well.

The bottom line: The burning of coal and fossil fuels may be cheap now but it is becoming increasingly evident that the real cost is adverse effects on the environment. Solar power is a solution that has the most value for the price.

The new perspective on using solar energy to power more buildings is highly optimistic as the trend of using solar energy continues to catch on. Environmentalism is increasing and becoming a key focus for people, on a global scale, and businesses and corporations are taking notice of this. Why? Because it affects how people choose to purchase products and services, and catering to their choices is an excellent catalyst for strategic green marketing success for businesses in today’s green movement age.

References

Anderson, D. (2012). Solar Energy Benefits & Drawbacks. National Geographic Website. Retrieved from http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/solar-energy-benefits-drawbacks-2259.html

Carpenter, S. (2011). Solar power in California is still a hot topic. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/27/home/la-hm-0827-state-of-solar-20110827

MarketingGreenPower.com. (2012). Retrieved from http://marketinggreenpower.com/

Mathur, L.K. & Mathur, I. (2000). An Analysis of the Wealth Effects of Green Marketing Strategies. Journal of Business Research, 50, pp. 193–200.

Physics.org. (n.d.). How do solar cells work? Retrieved from http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=51

Solar Energy (2012). BusinessDictionary.com. Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/solar-energy.html

Solar Energy. (2012). National Geographic website. Retrieved from http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/solar-power-profile/

Solar Energy. (n.d.). Solar Energy Industries Association website. Retrieved from http://www.seia.org/about/solar-energy

Solar Energy. (2012). United States Environmental Protection Agency website. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/region1/eco/energy/re_solar.html

Solar Energy Industries Association. (2012). Solar Means Business: Top Commercial Solar Customers in the U.S. http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-means-business-top-commercial-solar-customers-us

Union of Concerned Scientists. (2012). How Solar Energy Works. Retrieved from http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/how-solar-energy-works.html

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Green Marketing. Retrieved from http://www.sba.gov/content/green-business-guide

Whitburn, G. (2012). Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy. ExploringGreenTechnology.com. Retrieved from http://exploringgreentechnology.com/solar-energy/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-solar-energy/

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