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Digital Marketing 9 min read

6 Green Marketing Examples to Inspire Your Next Strategy

Sarah Edwards photo

Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 13 Dec 2023

There’s no doubt that Gen Z values sustainability. Green marketing — selling products and services by referencing their eco-friendly qualities — isn’t a new concept, but many more companies are now realizing its advantages. Following green marketing examples helps businesses increase trust, stand out in a competitive market, and achieve greater profitability. 

It’s important to note that green marketing is not the same as greenwashing, which is about valuing looks above commitment. Companies that follow this practice use natural colors or symbols in their marketing materials, mislead customers with statistics or half-hearted efforts, and employ eco-marketing buzzwords like “green” and “natural” to describe their offerings.

Conversely, the companies that are most successful with green marketing are all about becoming a force for good and putting in the work to see real, lasting change. 

Is it possible to find corporations that are truly doing what’s necessary to ensure the planet has a chance to flourish? Fortunately, there are many examples of companies doing just that. 

Increasing Profits by Decreasing Carbon Footprints: Next-Level Green Marketing Examples

Some of the world’s largest and most well-known companies have gotten on board with the recent cultural shift and are heavily marketing their sustainability efforts to their customer base. Others have been shining examples of green marketing for many years. 

Here are six companies that excel in various types of green marketing. Don’t miss the lessons they offer on what other brands can learn from their campaigns.

1. Patagonia: Leading With Honesty

Patagonia has become one of the most talked-about sustainability marketing examples by doing the exact opposite of what you might expect from a green marketing campaign

The company leads by telling customers which of their materials are harmful to the environment and still require a more eco-friendly alternative. This honesty truly resonates with customers and shuns the very idea of greenwashing.

Patagonia further solidifies its position on sustainability by ensuring that people know its goals for net-zero carbon emissions and which materials it expects to eliminate or find alternatives for by 2030. 

Each year, Patagonia updates consumers about where it is in terms of meeting the goals it has set. The company also donates to environmental sustainability and animal conservation initiatives.

Boho styled room interior with painted cardboard boxes saying Less New = Less CO2

2. Dr. Scholl’s: Paring Down Your Products

According to design director Katie Moore, Dr. Scholl’s aims to achieve greater sustainability by making better choices. The first move to help it achieve this goal was to cut down on the number of products in its shoe line. 

This “edited” line, the company says, gives it more room to consider the choices it makes about the materials it uses.

Dr. Scholl’s has implemented two important marketing tactics: quantifying its results and tying those numbers back to the customer. For example, the company claims that 70.6 million water bottles have been diverted from landfills into the recycled polyester it uses in its shoes, thanks to customer support of its line. 

Finally, the company attracts environmentally conscious customers by tying a purchase into a good deed Dr. Scholl’s will do on the buyer’s behalf. 

When you buy select styles, the company will donate a tree to a tree planting organization to reduce carbon manufacturing emissions. In the spirit of quantifying its sustainability results, the company reports that 237,522 trees have been planted to date.

3. The Body Shop: Narrowing Down Your Focus

Driving positive change in the world has been part of The Body Shop’s manifesto since the company’s inception, and the brand has historically been involved in social justice initiatives all around the world. However, is The Body Shop still as engaged in green marketing as it has been in the past?

Fortunately, The Body Shop is still a solid example of a company having one consistent green advertisement. The Body Shop is and has always been on a mission to ban animal testing in cosmetics forever. It often posts on its social media profile about its Forever Against Animal Testing campaign. 

Furthermore, it has launched limited edition t-shirts to bring greater awareness to the cause and raise money for Cruelty-Free International, an organization that helped in the fight to ban animal testing in the U.K. in 1998. It is now fighting to reinstate the ban after it was abandoned in 2019. 

The company’s activism webpage gives updates on its progress around the world. It also details information about how The Body Shop conducts its own cosmetics testing.

4. Timberland: Making Refurbished Items Cool Again

According to Margaret Morey-Reuner, Timberland’s former Director of Strategic Partnerships, Business Development, and Values Marketing, most of Timberland’s customers support LOHAS, an acronym for a lifestyle of health and sustainability. 

Consequently, executives have always known that customers would not support the company unless they found a way to create green marketing products examples.

While Timberland is known for using stories of sustainability and the environment to sell its footwear and apparel, the company has taken responsibility a step further with its Timberloop program

Timberloop is a take-back program that allows Timberland owners to return their boots instead of trashing them. The company will then either reuse the materials or repair them and sell them on a separate site for refurbished items.

Why has Timberloop been so successful? Because the program allows customers to actively participate in saving the planet. 

By physically returning their items for repurposing or resale, customers feel that they have played a part in saving their gear from a landfill. If the customer so chooses, they can do yet another good deed for the environment by purchasing a repaired pair of boots. 

5. Hershey: Focus on Your Own Actions

In 2023, Hershey was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the second time. The company has made headlines for its commitment to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by the year 2025. Part of making that goal was ensuring that the company put in significant efforts toward its own goals. 

Hershey currently operates 12 Zero-Waste-to-Landfill facilities across the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. In these facilities, food waste is composted, and trash is co-processed so it is either recycled as raw materials or converted into energy. 

Although these efforts have effectively reduced the company’s emissions, Hershey executives have not stopped figuring out ways to improve sustainability even more.

Hershey has also increased the recyclability of its food packaging. It has found a way to replace 100% of the PVC in its packaging supply chain and is striving to make 100% of its plastic packaging recyclable, reusable, or compostable within the next several years. 

By taking radical responsibility for the environment, Hershey has been able to shift its image and capture a piece of the sustainable marketing pie.

Hand holding a take-out coffee cup made of paper board

6. Starbucks: Marketing Sustainable Operations

Rather than simply donating to environmentally friendly causes, Starbucks has been committed for decades to running its business in the most sustainable way possible. This, of course, includes the materials the business uses, such as cups, lids, and straws. The company’s stated goal is “sustainable coffee served sustainably.”

Unlike other corporations, Starbucks doesn’t just use more eco-friendly materials. The stores themselves are built on LEED certification standards for sustainable operations. Starbucks operates cafes in healthy and efficient green buildings that minimize the use of power with solar and wind energy.

Along with making significant efforts on its own, Starbucks also plans to solidify its status as one of the greatest green advertising examples by making its framework open source. This allows other retail stores and restaurants to duplicate its success. 

All of these efforts make the Starbucks brand synonymous with sustainability, something the company has worked toward for many years. 

Good Green Marketing Has the Power to Save the Planet

Companies large and small are starting to realize the advantages of green marketing. What lessons can you learn from how the corporate giants are going about marketing with a cause?

Being a good example of green marketing is about more than just appealing to a generation of sustainability crusaders. Your brand can’t — and shouldn’t — just throw environmentally friendly buzzwords around and hope for the best. 

Instead, a good green marketing campaign is all about having a business that’s truly committed to what’s best for the planet and the people who live on it.

Whether you are marketing a cause, innovating with products, or simply increasing transparency around your green efforts, your green marketing examples have to be about more than just messaging. Becoming a true green marketing example is about finding a better way to do business and telling others all about it.

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed