"The holy grail of green marketing is when the product innovation saves money and the payback period isn't too long for consumers," says Ashish Pujari, an associate professor at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University and a specialist in green product innovation.
In a recent study published in the journal Technovation, Pujari found that to make green products more successful in the marketplace, companies must embrace sustainability across all levels of the organization. Environmental impact is not based solely on the product itself but is also affected by the production system, the company itself and the supply chain.
"Shifting focus from the product to a philosophy that encompasses and transcends elements of the entire company will be a profound challenge for companies. They will have to integrate the work of people responsible for product development, marketing, the environment and other areas in order to achieve success," Pujari explains.
However, many business around the world have recognized the need to respond to sustainable development challenges and have changed their business activities in purchasing, product development, marketing and corporate strategy as a result. And it's paying off in increased return on investment, higher sales, enhanced competitiveness and improved image.
"Where once green products and practices were viewed as a tradeoff, increasingly companies are seeing the benefits which can arise from making environmental sustainability a part of everyday operations," concludes Pujari.