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Corporate social responsibility: the role of green marketing

6 minutes

The importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the corporate environment is steadily growing. Companies are recognizing the crucial role they play in promoting environmental and social sustainability. In today's market where the public is increasingly realizing the importance of the environment, green marketing can be a key element in companies' commitment to sustainability. In fact, according to 2020 Nielsen research, 64 percent of Italians expect a reduction in the use of non-recyclable plastic in packaging, 28 percent suggest using more compostable/biodegradable bioplastics. 


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the orientation in which companies take responsibility for their actions and the impact they have on the environment. Green marketing is a strategy that emphasizes the promotion of green products and services as well as the adoption of sustainable business practices in order to generate a positive impact on society and the environment. 


Green marketing can be a powerful tool for companies that wish to demonstrate their commitment to supporting the ecosystem, within the broader framework of Corporate Social Responsibility. Companies can use green marketing to effectively communicate their commitment to sustainability.

What links green marketing to corporate social responsibility?

CSR can be defined as the concept of corporate social responsibility in its broadest sense, while green marketing is a specific strategy to promote environmentally friendly products. We can see Corporate Social Responsibility as a set of guiding principles that a company adopts to implement a policy of voluntary responsibility related to the sustainability of its business in terms of its impact on the environment. 


Some of the most common challenges to overcome in this area include waste management, carbon emissions reduction, and regulatory compliance. The public has a strong impact on companies' adoption of CSR activities, choosing to support responsible brands that are committed to reducing their environmental impact in support of the ecosystem. 


Green marketing is a tool adopted to effectively communicate a company's CSR efforts. Through advertising campaigns, green labels and branding messages, companies can inform consumers and stakeholders about their commitment to sustainability. 

Among the benefits of sustainable marketing are: 

  • buyer loyalty increased profits (customers are willing to buy more expensive products if they are of certified sustainability) 
  • engaging consumers and forging stronger bonds with their community
  • devising new products and services with a low environmental impact
  • increasing perceived business value to the public
Vantaggi del marketing sostenibile

Adopting green marketing as part of CSR can result in economic benefits, improved corporate reputation and a significant contribution to environmental sustainability. Companies embracing this challenge are demonstrating their commitment to making a difference in the environment and society.

The mistakes of green marketing in corporate social responsibility

Green marketing is a powerful strategy that can bring concrete benefits to the company, provided it keeps away from a number of mistakes, including: 

  • treating consumers as a single target without dividing them into micro-segments marked by specific peculiarities and interests in common 
  • using sustainable marketing solely as a sales lever without following up proclamations with complete facts 
  • failing to communicate the results of green activities undertaken 
  • focusing too much on green strategies while avoiding properly addressing the other needs that move people to purchase 

This can lead to a loss of trust on the part of the public once it is discovered that the claims do not match the actual facts, not to mention the risk of fines when bragging about certifications that were never actually achieved.

Errori green marketing e responsabilità sociale d'impresa

How to employ green marketing in corporate social responsibility

To be successful in CSR, companies must set clear and measurable environmental sustainability goals. These goals should be integrated into corporate strategy. Employees play a key role in CSR implementation. Training and education are crucial to ensure that everyone makes shared efforts toward sustainability. 


Corporate Social Responsibility is crucial for commitment to sustainability and for supporting internal innovation. Green Marketing can prove to be a powerful ally in this journey, helping companies communicate and promote their commitment. Adopting CSR strategies not only brings economic benefits, but also contributes to a better corporate reputation and the building of a more sustainable future.

Analysis of opportunities

First, it is important to identify opportunities to adopt green marketing within your company. This may include identifying products or services that can be promoted as green or identifying areas where sustainability can be improved.

 Aruba, for example, says it has been focusing on green emission reduction goals since the design of a new data center, which has resulted in savings of about 18,000 tons of CO2 per year.

Goal setting

Once opportunities have been identified, it is essential to establish clear goals toward which to guide the conduct of green marketing activities. These goals should be specific, measurable, realistic, and related to a specific period.

Definizione obiettivi green marketing

Integration into business strategy

Green marketing should not be a separate activity, but rather should be integrated into the overall business strategy. This means that it should be reflected in the company's vision and mission.

Research and development

Investing in research and development to create green products and services is critical. This goal may involve developing cleaner technologies or optimizing production processes.

Corporate sustainability certifications

Corporate sustainability certification is granted by accredited bodies and involves the operation of a management and control system. They (including ISO 9001 for Quality, ISO 50001 for Energy and ISO 14001 for Environment) offer concrete assurances to markets and consumers that ecological standards and green efforts are being met.


Eco-labels describe the environmental characteristics of products and services and make it possible to monitor the social and economic impact of a company's activities on the environment. Eco-labels can refer to a single environmental factor (such as energy consumption) as well as cover multiple criteria (such as a range of environmental performance). They can be voluntary (if they refer to voluntary environmental product declarations or ecolabels) or mandatory (if they are obtained in fulfillment of regulatory obligations). Voluntary labels can be Type I (certified by third parties meeting the ISO 14024 technical standard), Type II (not certified by third parties, meeting the 14021 standard) and Type III (certified by third parties meeting the ISO 14025 technical standard).

Etichette ecologiche

Effective communication

A successful green marketing strategy goes through effective communication without "wordwashing" ("facade communication"). Companies should transparently and honestly communicate their green initiatives to customers and stakeholders taking into account target audience, digital media, and values to be disseminated. 


Communicating sustainability through storytelling, begins with presenting data to the audience of interest. This path also involves sharing membership in specific causes, making donations, and promoting nonprofit campaigns and initiatives. It then involves communicating all those activities with positive effects on the environment that may be of interest to the public, such as organizing days to clean up parks and donations to organizations committed to environmental advocacy.

Reducing environmental impact

Companies, depending on their industry and availability, can adopt cleaner production practices, waste recycling, or optimizing energy efficiency. 

Some of the most important are: 

  • ethical production processes 
  • use of recycled raw materials 
  • reducing the use of plastic products in the workplace 
  • use of renewable energy sources 
  • stimulating corporate team building (to stimulate redevelopment activities in city parks and neighborhoods) 
  • signing partnerships with green companies 

Barilla, for example, reports on its website that its paperboard is printed with low-migration, vegetable-based inks to help protect the environment.

Riduzione impatto ambientale

Employee involvement

Involving employees is crucial to the success of companies' green activities. Training and education can help create awareness and ensure that everyone makes shared efforts toward sustainability and is committed to sharing corporate efforts.

Monitoring and evaluation

Companies should continuously monitor their green marketing initiatives and evaluate their effectiveness. This may involve collecting data on environmental impact reduction or customer perception.

Monitoraggio e valutazione green marketing imprese

Consumer education

Green marketing is not only used to promote environmentally friendly products, but also to educate consumers about environmental issues, helping them understand the importance of sustainable choices made by brands.

Accountability and transparency

Finally, companies should be accountable for their actions and transparent to their stakeholders. This will build trust and credibility in the approach to corporate social responsibility and green marketing.

Need a hand in effectively managing your web marketing strategies? Contact us and find out how we can help you best communicate your green efforts.