The DLSU Newsletter online

30 OCTOBER 2000. VOLUME 32. NUMBER 23. 4 PAGES_ 

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Marketing goes earth-friendly
La Salle pioneers Green Marketing in the Philippines

Ozone-friendly, phosphate free, recyclable, refillable—you have seen these terms on product labels but have you heard of it in a marketing class?

For graduate students of marketing management, taking up the newly offered elective course, “Introduction to Green Marketing,” in the second trimester of the school year is a challenge in itself because it introduces “radical” concepts that mix traditional marketing with environmental concerns. The course primarily aims to develop an understanding of green marketing and its implications to businesses, and in the process promote environmental protection. The trailblazing class is handled by the environmentally committed Luz Suplico, faculty of the Marketing Management Department, who first encountered the course in her graduate studies at the University of Amsterdam where she took up environmental management.

At the start, Suplico had a hard time gathering materials for her curriculum, being the first one to teach such a course in the whole Philippines. For her, deciding to teach green marketing became a personal advocacy to help protect the environment and conserve our natural resources. She hopes that marketing students will eventually see the relevance of integrating one of society’s “new” concerns into the broader concept of marketing, including product development, pricing, and even advertising.

But what is green marketing and why is it becoming a catchword among multinational corporations? Green marketing addresses the needs and wants of people but it is also concerned in conserving and protecting the natural environment. It is done by simply reducing marketing activities and practices that cause energy and non-energy resource depletion, as well as pollution. For instance, in the conceptualization stage of a product, environment-friendly marketing people think of ways how to make the packaging as lightweight as possible, minimizing the use of materials that can also be recycled.

Since the start of the 1990s, more and more people are becoming aware of the spreading environmental degradation. And it seems that companies are now taking notice of society’s changing lifestyles. Firms such as Coca-Cola, Philips, and Body Shop are integrating environmental issues into their marketing strategies. Even the government is jumping on the bandwagon by making environment-friendly legislation, such as the Clean Air Act. In addition, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like Green Peace, PRIME (Private Sector for Managing the Environment), and Haribon are formed to do advocacy work.

In the end, education is the key. Teachers and students realize that damage to the environment is irreversible. Now is the time to build up environment consciousness before it is too late. As one green marketing student remarked, “We just scratched the surface here…though we became more aware of the industries’ and businesses’ environmental responsibilities…we should have more hands-on experience.”

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