On the operational level, the traditional tool has been the marketing mix, "the four Ps": Product, Place, Price and Promotion (e.g. in Peattie 2002, 230). The amount of Ps varies to some extent depending on the writer. Here, first these first four are discussed in a little more detail. Then, because sustainability marketing is regarded to include more dimensions than conventional marketing, two more Ps, Public and Politics, are introduced. Finally, other factors, both internal and external that must be concerned in sustainability marketing, are shortly described. From the viewpoint of both, sustainability and business success, however, there are certain requirements that have to be met. They have been discussed earlier and they will be one of the topics in this chapter, too, Therefore, here, at the end, they act more or less as a concusion or a reminder.
Belz and Peattie have also discussed sustainability issues thoroughly in their book Sustainability Marketing - a Global Perspective (2009). They have introduced a model that might be called four Cs which includes four main topics: Customer solutions, communications, customer costs and convenience. Since, so far, the traditional and well-known model with Ps might be, supposingly, more familiar to the reader the basic ideas of these four Cs have been embedded in the text below.
- 1. Product
When customers seek to satisfy a need, he might choose either a material product or an immaterial service. Sustainable products and services can be defined as 'offerings that satisfy customer needs and significantly improve the social and environmental performance along the wole life cycle in comparison to conventional or competing offers' (Belz&Peattie 2009, 154). When talking about products in marketing context, one should keep in mind that product strategies should also include packaging, branding and different kinds of services related to the physical product. (See Corporate Sustainability Strategy: Services). First, however, we´ll take a look at product characteristics from the environmental point of view.
It is important to examine and evaluate the environmental impacts of the product first. Here one has to remember that the evaluation must cover the whole life cycle of the product, e.g. design, raw materials, production, transportation, sale, use/consumption, disposal etc. To evaluate the environmental quality of a product, the environmental impact added during all the phases of a product´s life time have to be included. Second, environmental product qualities must be evaluated also in comparison to the harm caused by comparable alternatives. (Schaltegger et al. 2003, 231). The impacts, naturally, depend very much on the industry and type of product and production. They also are strongly related to infrastructure and energy solutions. Tools for evaluating environmental impacts can be e.g. material flow analysis, life cycle assessments, different footprint calculations etc. (See Environmental Management as well as Eco-Efficiency). From the supply chain point of view, retailers can support the demand of environmentally friendly products in two ways: By requiring suppliers to supply environmentally friendly products and by making their availability easy for customers. (Pesonen 2008b).
Usually, it can be said that products consist of a bundle of functions and characteristics related not only to physical performance but also to aesthetic and symbolic values. For example owning a car provides not only mobility but also independence, maybe a hobby, the experience of speed, status or even substitution for a partner. These multiple functions are perceived in cultural and individual contexts. Therefore it may be difficult in practice to find alternatives for cars which compensates all other characteristics, too. For example, a video conference can never provide experience of speed or status of owning a fancy car. This means that the possibility of obtaining an environmental evaluation of alternative products is limited. (Schaltegger et al. 2003, 233-234).
As mentioned before, customer requirements concerning environmental issues but also concerning the durability and high quality are strongly growing in importance. It goes without saying that if ethical or environmentally friendly products do not satisfy customer needs, related either to environmental or other qualities, will very seldomly survive in the market in the long run. In addition to looks, function, price, performance etc. an increasing number of customers wnt to know for sure how the product was produced and processed. Therefore, these matters influence, or should influence the product design: materials, production, transportation, recycling possibilities etc. For example, in product design attention should be paid to avoiding use of materials that are harmful to health and the environment. One possibility could be to use only suppliers with eco-labels or environmental certificates. It should also be possible to recycle or re-use the parts and components as well as other materials in new products – either for the same purpose or for something else. Therefore products should be easy and quick to dismantle. A growing number of customers prefer nowadays maintenance and repairing services instead of buying always new products. These requirements are met e.g. by using replaceable modules and abandoning rapid design changes made solely for cosmetic reasons. Regionality and seasonality are characteristics that have significantly grown in customer preferences. (eurobarometer 2008 + Ethical Consumerism report).
From the customer point of view, product policy can be seen as the most obvious and visible way to support environmental positive attitudes of customers and thus influence the public opinion. It is, however, good to remember that what constitutes 'green' changes all the time and requires thus continuous product development. What is extraordinary and excellent today may be standard tomorrow. At the same time it is worth remembering that the definition - if one can make a definition at all - 'green products' includes usually several shades of green and different types of products. Let us have a look at an example where products are divided in two categories: absolute and relatively green ones. Products that can contribute to the improvement of society or the environment can be called absolute green products. Examples can be found e.g. in so called clean technology, health care affordable for everybody etc. Products that still harm the environment or the society, eventhough their environmental impacts can be regarded lower than that of 'conventional ones', can be called relative green. In that case there are several points to be considered: First, the purpose of the product: can cigarrettes, drugs, weapons etc. be seen as responsible products? Second, the incredients, energy, the acceptability of the working conditions of people contributing to the production etc. Third, the consequences of product use and misuse. From the environmental point of view, it is often the use phase in the product life cycle that seems to be the most critical one for many durable products, especially for products that rely on energy or water in the usage stage. Another significant point from the environmental perspective is the durability of products which will be discussed a few rows later. In addition to these widely used products there are also numbers and numbers of products whose use is accepted only because the benefits of their use are desired, e.g. fossile fuels, medicin with side effects, harmful chemicals in food production etc. The consequences of product use may also take place only when the product is used incorrectly, like in case of medicin, different types of chemicals etc. Therefore, it is very important that companies inform their customers how to use the products right and what consequences incorrect use might cause. They also have to insist that their distributors forward correct handling, use and disposal information to the clients. The fourth example of only relatively green products is related to the risks concerning the product in question. A good example could be nuclear power. Fifth, product durability has become an interesting issue for customers, both from the environmental but also from the economic point of view. In times when environmental matters were not yet regarded as important as they are now, the main aim of manufacturers often was to sell as much as possible. To help them sell more and to make people buy more they started to shorten the life span of products on purpose. This so called planned obsolescence can be based on three optional methods: built-in obsolescence means that products are made to last only a limited time. In some devices, e.g. printers there may be a small part that counts the number of printed pages and after the maximum amount has been reached, the printer stops working. Shortened life span may also be based on fashion. Rapidly changing trends are seen not only in textiles but also related to other consumer goods like furniture and other interior design products, cars, sports equipment, phones etc. The third form of planned obsolescence is a quick and continuous upgrading of e.g. computers, smart phones, home entertainment device etc. In other words we talk about technological obsolescence. The question is, how long customers will be ready to accept this. On one hand, people tend to express themselves more and more by consumption when quickly changing trends are regarded as the main purchasing criteria at the expence of all others. On the other hand, however, the number of customers who prefer long-lasting, durable and/or repairable goods is continuously growing. An opposite approach could be extension of the product life by means of material choices, design and tehnology. Instead of selling as much as possible, companies can make big savings in material and energy consumption as well as in waste reduction, and get an image of high quality producer - not to mention the image of a responsible company. Due to the increased appreciation of high quality, durability and repairability of products among customers, numbers of companies offer different kinds of services related to maintenance, repair and upgrading. Various kinds of services and different combinations of products and services help companies to focus on customer solutions instead of phyical products. As discussed in chapter Corporate Sustainability Strategy, the extreme option is to replace physical products with services that fulfills the same customer need completely. This requires, however, certain kind of "out-of-the-box-thinking" and plenty of creativity. The same way customer post-use solutions, in other words the role of end-of-life products, as mentioned above, have grown lately significantly in importance due to environmental requirements. Nowadays different disposal options like reuse, recycling etc. are taken in concern already in product design phase.(See Eston&Winston in Corporate Sustainability Strategies: Paradigm Shift, as well as Creating Value through Product Recovery). Last, but not least, the manufacturing country or region may play a decisive role in customers´purchasing decisions, either in case customers want to avoid child labour or other problems related to the production or they rely on e.g. positive reputation and credibility of certain countries e.g. related in technical performance. (Peattie 2002, 180-182, Belz&Peattie 2009, 154).
Peattie (2002) suggests that in practice the issues discussed above, can be evaluated e.g. with help of a matrix where product attributes like raw materials, energy efficiency, waste and pollution, packaging, lifespan, reusability and/or recyclability, effect on customer behaviour and socio-economic impact are compared the ones of the competitors. The scale could be expressed by numbers but also by descriptions like best possible - among the best - above average - better than some - poor. Another way to evaluate the 'greenness' of products and/or companies is to describe them between two extremes: contributes to solutions vs. contributes to problems. One can also use colours when the scale could be deep green - green - light green - light gray - dark grey - black, where deep green means that products are sustainably produced and that they even may have a positive impact on the environment, green indicates that products are environmentally excellent by current marke standards, light green describes consistent environmental improvement in product and production or service delivery process, wherease light grey menas low-impact services and products with limited environmentally improved attributes, dark grey describes conventionally produced products and high-impact services and, in the worst case, black indicates that the products and/or services are environmentally destructive or socially inacceptable. (Peattie 2002, 182-183).
Regardless of how 'green' the products is, its success usually depends on the consumer´s perception of both: its environmental performance and its primary performance i.e. other qualities. Sometimes these performance differencies are based on real improvements in environmental quality, sometimes more or less on individual perceptions - or on them both. In this context one should bear in mind that customer perceptions are usually very individual and influenced also by other matters than only the product itself (see Consumer Behaviour: Individually perceived benefits and costs). Another thing one should take in concern here is that both of the performance qualities, environmental and primary ones, should include the whole life cycle of the product in question. Peattie (2002) has found four categories referring to perceived technical vs. environmental performance. They are illustrated in the picture below.
As one can see in the picutre,conventionals are products whose perceived technical performance is relatively high but whose environmental qualities are poor. Even if the environmental issues are here overlooked, a well known and highly appreciated brand may still be competitive - at least in the eyes of customers who don´t include environmental issues in their requirements. Good examples are easy to find: cars that use fossile fuels, food products provided by intensive industrial agriculture, cheap textiles etc. Underperformers, in turn, are products whose perceived environmental and technical performance are both relatively poor. It could be claimed that this kind of products have certain difficulties to survive on the market unless they are extremely price competitive. Products of high quality from the environmental point of view but not from the viewpoint of technical performance, could be called 'worthies' or 'alternative products'. In this case the customer, if he wants to buy these products, has to make some compromises between environmental performance and other qualities. Technical performance is not the only compromise here, the product might also have a worse taste or look uglier, it may be more difficult to find or at least it is not sold in the nearest super market, it may be more expensive etc. It can easily be claimed that these product mainly serve for niche-markets or at least that they only seldomly appeal to mass markets. Products that satisfy both requirements, technical and environmental, can be called green champions. These days when the awareness and knowledge of customers is raising all the time, companies have to be carefull in their marketing: the position of green champions can not be reached and maintained only by green selling arguments, improvements in the eco-performance have to be real and substantial. On the other hand, it may sometimes be difficult to reach the market even if the product is a green champion. For example the problem of so called green technologies may be that at the time they were first developed and tested their performance was not technically or otherwise superior. Therefore they first got the reputation of a 'worthy' which was not that easy to be changed later on even if the technical qualities were significantly improved. Another problem in technology can be that investors require short-term payback which is not always possible in case of new innovations. (Belz & Peattie 2009, 161-162, Peattie 2002, 184-186).
How the perceptions, either environmental or related in other qualities, influence individual purchasing decisions, see chapter 2. Ehtical Consumption and 3. Consumer Behaviour.
As reminded earlier, one should remember that the product environmental performance should cover the whole life cycle of the product. It is also worth remembering that value can also be added by different kinds of immaterial services which may reduce the environmental impact of the product significantly. Designing 'green products' covers more than just creating new products. In addition to product qualities, the product strategy involves among others e.g. analysing the market situation and consumer behaviour, launching and promoting these products as well as influencing the public opinion and supporting the more sustainable way of life in general. Peattie (2002) gives some facts that should be taken in concern to succeed in the market: First of all, the 'green products' must be aimed at a genuine green need or want among customers, an image that is based on weak criteria is on the long run more a risk than a success factor. Second, their performance must be acceptable from both, environmental and technical point of view. To reach the market and the attention of potential customers, the environmental quality must be communicated succesfully to consumers with help of e.g. branding, design, packaging and promotion. If the improved environmental quality leads to price premiums, customers must - naturally - be willing and able to pay them. And last but not least, the 'green products' must be supported by producer´s genuine pursuit to create a reliable, credible environmentally friendly product. (Peattie 2002, 191).
A mentioned earlier, packaging has also an important role to play when designing and promoting environmentally friendly or ethical products. Packaging has been a big issue among others in discussion related to waste problems. Packaging provides not only protection for the product it contains but also communication through colours and many printed messages that help sell the product and inform users and consumers of the attributes and qualities of the product it contains. One of the most important functions of packaging is naturally to insure effective and safe handling of products through the whole supply chain. (Schaltegger et al. 2003, 240, Finnish Packaging Association 2011.) Packaging is, however, also seen as a waste problem. Therefore, suppliers and retailers have to balance between e.g. waste reduction and other environmental requirements vs. other functions and requirements set for packaging. In addition, authority regulations concerning packaging, especially related to groceries, vary from country to country. There are numbers of examples how environmental impacts of packaging could be reduced. The possibilities depend, naturally, on the character and qualities of the product in question. For example Finnish Packaging Association enoucrages packaging manufacturers to minimize their use of materials, energy and emissions in their production by means of e.g. environmental and quality programmes as well as by meeting the requirements of environmental and quality standards. The association also requires its members to minimize packaging materials in general and, at hte same time, also to take different reuse and recycling possibilities in concern.(Finnish Packaging Association 2011.) Another example that could be mentioned here is the label "Green Dot", "Der Grüne Punkt" which is used for recycling of packaging in many EU countries. There are also numbers and numbers of companies (existing and new born) whose core business is to recycle - not only end-of-life products but also - packages. In addition to reuse and recycling of packages and packaging materials, an other way to avoid package waste, is e.g. to make them compostable, or replace plastics with paper and other less harmful materials etc.
- 2. Place
Allthough logistics is not the issue here, it might be usefull to mention a few viewpoints here. First, from the environmental point of view, one of the most essential matters concerning place and distribution is transportation and actually the whole distribution chain. Just for example, by using different transportation modes, such as rail and ship, energy savings and emission reductions are significant. The following pictures hopefully give a quick look at differencies in energy efficiency in both, transportation of goods and in passanger traffic.
In addition to energy, one basic issues concerning transportation are different emissions. The following picture shows the proportion of transport compared to other emission sources as well as the proportions of different transport modes.
As one can easily see, the choice of transport mode really makes a difference. Peattie (2002) has found rather similar figures when he claims that rail transport uses only one third as much energy per wreight unit than road. It has also been estimated that rail track needs approximately 80% less land and 90% less aggregate for construction compared to a motorway that can handle the same amount of freight. At the same time, for construction and maintenance of rail tracks only some one third of the energy is needed that is used for constructing and maintaining motorways. (Peattie 2002, 253). There are numbers of national and international researches, calculations and estimations related to emissions and energy consumption concerning different transport modes (e.g. in Finland see for example www.motiva.fi, www.lipasto.fi etc.) where you can easily find more information.
The conventional approach to distribution management includes numbers of issues like availability, quick deliveries, just-in-time deliveries, optimizing storages and distribution routes, reliability of suppliers and transporters, costs and risks of distribution etc. In recent years, however, the public pressure to minimize environmental impacts of logistics has been growing remarkably. (Peattie 2002, 250). Facts like 24% of freight vehicles in the EU run empty, the estimated avdrage loading of the rest being only 57% and overall efficiency reaching only 43% (Supply Chain study of the World Economic Forum 2009) are not more acceptable. It has been estimated that the recoverable loss for the EU countries, due to the loss of this inefficiency, is altogether 22 billion euros and 1.2% of the total CO2 emissions. (World Economic Forum 2009). Eventhough logistics is actually not the issue here, a few examples of more environmental friendly ideas could perhaps quickly be mentioned here. As mentioned earlier, the choice of transport mode plays quite a big role concerning environmental impacts. The same can be said about the choice of fuel used in transportation. Other simple but powerfull ways could be minimizing the need for transportation in general, minimizing the amoung of packaging and the choice of packaging materials, more effective routing, multimodular transport modes etc. Environmental impacts of logistics is a very interesting and comprehensive topic but since the time and space are limited, we move the focus now on marketing issues.
From marketing point of view, as we know based on conventional marketing, producers can promote their products also by offering the product in a place that supports the chosen product strategy and image. As mentioned several times before, for sustainability marketing it is of outmost importance that environmentally friendly products are easily available and for a reasonable price. When we think about physical distribution, one could say that there are three different ways to bring the customer and the product together: One option is to bring the customer directly to the product, e.g. to a farm shop, a factory outlet etc. In the other extreme, so to speak, is the possibility of direct marketing where the products are delivered directly to the customer. Between these two versions there is the traditional way of selling goods in a particular place. The products are delivered there through a supply chain and customers get there to make their purchasings. Services make an exeption here in the sence that they can not be stored. Therefore the options related to services are either that the customer goes to a certain place to get the service he wants or the service is brought to the customer. The destination of deliveries of different types of online services is, of course, not physically limited but received by customer devices regardless of time and physical location. (Peattie 2002, 250).
The same way distribution channel may influence the image of so called conventional products it does the same for so called ethical or environmentally friendlier products. In case these products are regarded as high quality products it may make sense to sell them for a somewhat higher price in special shops, especially if customers are ready to pay that price and spend the time and effort to get those products. In case the producer or the distributor, however, wants to get his products to the mass market, this is not necessarily the best possible choice. More and more customers want to get all their purchases from the same place, quicly and easily, and for a compareable price, also when they purchase ethical or environmentally friendly products. (see chapter 3: Consumer Behaviour)
- 3. Price
Requirements related to more sustainable, responsible or ethical production, environmentally friendlier products and more responsible consumption have risen big questions concerning costs and prices of products we buy and lifestyles we have. Examples of these questions are among others: Should there be a price for services that the nature provides us like clean water and air? Should there be a price for polluting? Who should pay these prices? Who should pay the additional costs that are caused by protecting the environment? Do environmentally friendlier products and protecting the environment necessarily mean additional costs and higher prices? Are environmentally friendly or ethical products too expensive or are conventional products too inexpensive because they cause so much damage? How do the consumers respond to so called green premiums for more sustainable products?
Another essential question is how can these environmental impacts be calculated? As argued in the chapter Corporate Sustainability Strategy, the functionality of cost strategy can be evaluated only if the environmental costs and savings related to them can be identified and systematically calculated. The challenge is that only some environmental costs can be easily measured (e.g. energy and material consumption) whereas others can be caculated by means of quite complex allocation procedures. In addition to this, there are certain environmental costs that are very difficult to measure by monetary means (e.g. spoiling the landscape, polluting the air, decreasing the quality of drinking water etc.) Further difficulties with measuring environmental cost take place when investments are made that are supposed to meet both economic and environmental goals.
In addition, one big question could be: What is a price, what does it mean? From a rather traditional point of view, price has been seen as a reflection of the cost of production. The problem here is, as mentioned before, that so far prices mainly reflect only the market costs of production and exclude the many environmental costs. On the other hand, by means of protecting the environment, e.g. by saving energy and materials, minimizing the need for transportation, by recycling components and materials, reducing waste in general as well as waste water and heat etc., a company can also make significant savings in its costs. In addition to covring costs, prices can also be set to maximise profits, generate a desired level of cash flow or to provide a target rate of return for investors. Prices can also be used for measuring the worth or value of products, or indicate the relation of existing demand and available supply on the market. As we know, prices can symbolise certain quality to consumers or be the basis for market segmentation. Pricing is also a strategic choice where a company can pursue competitive advantage either through product differentiation or by low-cost + low-price -policy. Pricing does not necessarily need to be always the same: price reductions can be used for e.g. market penetrations or for shorter times e.g. different promotion campaigns. It is also important to remember that total prices usually include also other issues than the concrete price printed on the product. In addition to them, there are several other transaction costs that have a role to play, e.g. services related to the purchased product, guarantees and payment arrangements etc. that can also be used in pricing. In this context one should also bear in mind that these days many customers prefer leasing or renting instead of buying. Leasing, for example, provides the flexibility for customers to keep up with technology especially when the purchase would require relatively large amount of capital (in relation to the customer capacity). (Peattie 2002, 280-281, Schaltegger et al. 2005, 243).
In comparison to marketing conventional products, marketing environmentally friendlier choices includes one more dimension that has to be considered: in addition to price and quality (here called primary performance), 'green' products should, naturally, also have a high eco-performance. Therefore one could talk about a kind of a three-way balance between these three dimensions that has an important role to play in pricing. Like in any pricing, the pricing strategy of more sustainable products must be based on the overall marketing strategy. The same way, issues that influence pricing decisions are related to demand and cost factors as well sas competitor offerings. An interesting situation may occur when the same manufacturer offers both kinds of products to fulfill the same need: a conventional, 'grey' one and a more sustainable, 'green' one. It has been revealed that when all other factors (including price) are the same, people prefer nowadays buying a 'greener' product instead of the conventional one. The risk, however, with replacing the 'grey' product with the 'green' one compeletely is that not all customers are necessarily willing to buy that 'green' one. Therefore, another choice could be to introduce the 'green' one as a high quality alternative, not instead but beside the conventional one, to a premium price. (Peattie 2002, 287-289).
In any case, it has been said that price and differentiation characteristics of a product translate into competitive advantage only when they are noticed by the customer. In other words, they must be important to the customer, they must be made apparent to them and the products must be permantently available. It is also worth remembering that market opportunities based on price and/or cost leadership can be succesfull only when they base on the strengths of the company such as technical know-how that is difficlt to copy, high-quality services or excellent reputation and credibility that are based on trust that has been developed over time with the customers. One could also claim, as discussed in chapter Consumer Behaviour, that the product that is seen as the most serviceable and provides the best benefit-cost balance is the one that is purchased. (Schaltegger et al. 2005,187-190).
- 4. Promotion
The fourth part of the marketing mix refers to the process of informing consumers about company´s products. Even if it can be claimed that 'green communication´can be approached in the same way as any other communication, that the objectives of 'green' advetiser will be similar to those of a grey marketer and that the basic disciplines are the same, there deffinately can be found also some differences. From the sustainability point of view, the aim of promotion is not only to increase sales but also to influence the public opinion and attitudes towards more sustainable consumption as well as to support people´s awareness and interest in environmental issues. It may even help and support people to change their life styles and consumption habits. It may even be claimed that sustainability marketing communications represents the next step in the development of marketing communications because it is based on a dual focus: companies communicate with customers about the sustainability solutions it provides through their products, and also communicate with customers and other stakeholders about the company as a whole. In other words the aim is to open up the company behind the product offering for the customers and, on the other hand, keep up an open dialogue between the company and its customers and other stakeholders so that they could all understand and learn from each other.(Belz 2005, Belz & Peattie 2009, 180).
One of the most important issues of sustainability marketing is also to promote credibility in the eyes of the potential customers. In order to reach customer trust and confidence, it is of outmost importance that companies do not just advertise their products and/or services but also act in a responsible way in everything they do. They, so to speak, walk their talk. This means that companies easily concentrate on "big issues" that are relatively easy to measure, to prove and that are often also reported to the public e.g. environmental improvements in production, saving energy and materials, avoiding child labour throughout the supply chain etc. At the same time they, however, tend to forget little details in every day life that might seem irrelevant but that can give an incoherent message, e.g. company cars, business gifts, amount and quality of printed materials etc. In shops and super markets, the attitude of the shop owner can often be seen in the product placement: How easily are the 'green' products to find (on the highest shelf, behind all others, in a shabby corner etc.), are they regularly available or often "sold out", how well have they been looked after i.e. in what condition are the products at present, what is the price difference compared to the conventional ones etc.?
Since consumers have become more cynical about 'green' advertising due to numbers of examples of so called green washing and cases where companies have ended up to the media because of their irresponsible behaviour, one of the most main aims of sustainability marketing and communication is to (re)build trust. Openness of information is one key element in trust building because secrecy breeds distrust and lack of confidence. Therefore, in practice, if the company has had some problems or challenging situations in the past, or still has them, it should take them seriously and openly discuss the matters with its customers and other stakeholders. Because today´s media are hungry for sensational stories of environmental or ethical failures among companies, they may prefer to hide any problems they have. This is, however, a very short-sighted choice. As we all know, a lost reputation is very difficult to improve.
Since sustainability marketing and communication are more or less based on successfully reached trust and confidence, a few words of trust might be worth mentioning here. Trust related to purchasing situation can be seen to have three different dimensions: first the trust that has emerged before the purchasing decision, in other words the expectations and attitudes of customers concerning the product, brand or company. These expectations may relate to either technical qualities or the environmental qualities of the product, brand or company, or to them both. In many cases customers have the possibility to test the quality before making the purchasing decision, e.g. they try clothes on, they make a test drive before buying a car, companies may send their potential customers samples to be tested etc. Second, customers experience the quality of products and services during the use which can - naturally - have either a positive or negative impact on customer attitudes towards the product, brand or company. Usually, it has been said, people tend to tell about their disappointments and bad experiences far more often than about good experiences. In addition to these two, the third type of trust concerns particularly sustainability issues, namely sustainability claims used in marketing that are difficult, if not even impossible, to prove. For example claims concerning environmental friendliness of materials used or the production often require special expertise that only few customers have. The same way, many issues concerning social responsibility e.g. child labour or working conditions of employees especially in developing countries or in countries we know only little about, is usually difficult to prove. Therefore, the customer has to trust either the company or the brand, or look for reliable information from other sources, e.g. NGOs related to these issues, public authorities, scientific researches etc., which only the most demamanding customers do. (Belz 2005).
To support customer trust and certain openness in communications, numbers of companies have established an own website to inform people about the sustainability issues related to their product, brand or company itself. In addition to one-way information, companies can also have different kinds of news groups, face book groups, discussion forums and other forms of social media that aim at dialogues. Openness is also a way to respond in a proactive and more trustworthy way in case the company is attacked online about issues related to its social and/or environmental performance. Online communication channels can be created also by committed consumers and consumer groups. For example, consumer groups very interested and involved in sustainability issues have developed kinds of sustainability oriented communities of interest which provide consumers, and naturally also companies, with expertise and insight about sustainability issues. (see e.g. www.treehugger.com, www.lohas.de) Belz & Peattie 2009, 185-187).
One way to convince customers and strengthen their trust is to use different kinds of well-known labels and certifications in company communication. Labels and certifications are mostly audited by third-party auditors and issued by authorities which supports their reliability in the eyes of customers. On the other hand, not all labels and certificates are known by potential customers, the procedure to apply may require lots of time and effort and some certificates are relatively expensive. In addition there is always a number of customers who do not trust labels and certificates, or in their opinion, the level of sustainability required by authorities is not strict enough.
Based on Carlson et al. (1993), Peattie (2002) identifies five categories: first, selling arguments can be focused on the product. This means that the producer gives information on the product itself, its qualities and performance. The difference between environmentally friendly or ethical products and conventionally produced ones is that this product informations contains, naturally, also environmental and/or ethical issues like rawmaterials used, recycling possibilities etc. These claims can either be based on facts and appeal to customers´ cognitive attitudes. On the other hand, however, claims can also be affective and emotional. In the context of emotional appeals Belz and Peattie (2009) talk also about euphoria appeals where a sense of well-being is invoked by highlighting the naturalness or health benefits of the product, as well as about emotional appeals that evoke fear for the future or guilt about our impact on the planet. It has been revealed, however, that negative feelings are very seldom an effective way to support customers´ ethical purchasing decisions. Second, claims can be related to the production and the improvements that have been done concerning the technologies and methods used either in production or in disposal. Third, promotion can be based on image issues, combining the use of product or service together with the willingness of customers "to do good". On strategy level this often means that the company strives to position itself as a part of 'the green movement' or as a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem as described earlier in this chapter. Image appeals can also be created by different kinds of donation and charity campaigns. The fourth category contains information and fact-based claims about relevant environmental issues in general or more closely related to the product type in question. Of course, there can be numbers of different combinations of these four categories used together to convince the customer of the environmental or ethical excellence of the product, brand or company. (Peattie 2002, 234).
It is also worth remembering that, like in any marketing, the communication to or with the customer must take place not only before the purchase but also during the purchasing process, during the use as well as after the use phase. The aim of pre-purchase communications is, as discussed above, among others to convince consumers of both, technical and environmental excellency in product performance, reassure them about the benefits the product provides, as well as about the sustainability performance of the product and the company as well as to support consumers' awareness and positive attitudes towards ethical consumption in general. In addition to traditional point-of-sale displays, promotional offers, personal selling etc. an important aspect from the environmental point of view is also packaging: both the amount and quality of packaging and environmental information on packaging. Sometimes environmentally friendlier products must be used in a different way from the way customers are used to do with conventional products (e.g. use cool water in their washing machines with certain types of washing powders, load the batteries instead of replacing them with new ones etc.), or the product is completed or perhaps even replaced completely by different services. In those cases customers need relevant information and advice what to do and how. From the environmental point of view, the post-use phase has grown significantly in importance. By means of sustainability marketing consumers can be encouraged to recycle used products and packaging or engage in other forms of sustainable disposal. At the same time consumer complaints, suggestions for improvement or expressions of satisfaction create a good basis for further development and maintenance of a long-run relationship with customers. (Schaltegger et al. 2003, 246, Belz & Peattie 2009, 188).
1.5. Public and Policitcs
As mentioned before, sustainability marketing is not only selling new products or services, but includes also an attempt to introduce and support more responsible thinking, more ethical consumption habits and more sustainable life styles. The aim of this so called "mega marketing" is to influence the whole society, including industries, decision makers, authorities, media and public opinion. Climate change as well as other environmental and social problems we are facing today are so enormous that without a wide cooperation it is impossible to cope with them. Therefore we all have an important role to play here.
1.6. Other internal and external factors in sustainability marketing
In addition to products, place, price and promotion there are also other factors within companies that have to be taken in concern. The following is based on Peattie's model which covers not only the four Ps describe above but also a few more. First Providing information: Nowadays companies need a lot of relevant information on both, their own environmental impacts and on ways to reduce them as well as on different requirements of their stakeholders. One way to get reliable information is to cooperate with e.g. universities, research centres, NGOs etc. This requires a new kind of openness and trust among these networks. Second, Processes: This refers to environmental management, not only in production but also in other actions, too. How can the energy, water and material consumption as well as waste and emissions be reduced, how can the overall environmental impacts be minimized? Third, Policies: The sustainability policy of a company is discussed in more detail in chapter Sustainability Marketing Values and Objectives. Here the question is, how the policy is transferred into action. The last P here is People: how to motivate them to get involved and help them contribute.
In addition to factors that can be seen as internal issues, Peattie reminds us of external factors that have their impact in company actions. They will be introduced here with some more Ps. Like in any marketing, the first question is the customers (in Peattie´s model Paying customers). From the sustainability point of view the major focus here are their requirements concerning sustainability issues. What do they want? As mentioned a few times earlier, if a company wants to get and sustain certain reputation and trust among their stakeholders, it is not enough if the company takes care only of its own business, but sustainability issues have to be included also in the whole supply chain. Therefore it is of outmost importance that the company can rely on the actions related to sustainability issues (e.g. environmental performance) of their suppliers and partners (Providers and Partners). Companies should also consider whether they or their close partners have had problems, either environmental or social, and how these problems affected their reputation (Problems). In this model Peattie reminds us that in addition to our consumption habits and purchasing behaviour as individual customers we can also influence the sustainable development by voting and creating 'green pressure' to politicians. With time this can affect business in form of stricter legislation and authority requirements. Politicians and public opinion can also be strongly influenced by different NGOs and pressure groups. Companies should, therefore, be well aware of issues they are currently focusing, what they are at present campaigning about and what new areas of concern are emerging (Pressure groups). Related to these future concerns comes Predictions: What environmental or social problems might affect the company in future? It takes some time before scientific discoveries reach the public audience which makes it possible for companies to take them in concern in time.
In addition to these internal and external factors there are, naturally, also certain requirements that have to be met in order to be successful in responsible business. In this model these four factors are marked with S. From the business point of view, satisfation of customers and other stakeholders is a crucial point regardless of these requirements concern environmental, social or other qualities of products and brands (Satisfaction). From the corporate responsibility point of view, in turn, another critical issue is Safety. In addition to its traditional meaning product safety can be seen here also in the meaning of the environmental performance of the product. Safety of processes relates here above all to the environemental improvements in production. It can also include safe conditions of employees etc. Social acceptability creates the basis for the company licence to operate. The last S in this model is Sustainability which has to cover, as discussed earlier, all company activities. (Peattie 2002, 109).