Apply marketing’s 4 Ps in stopping climate change

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1. Introduction

Greenpeace was established in 1971 starting with a campaign against the US underground nuclear test in Alaska with just a small boat of volunteers (Unknown 2010). Since then the Greenpeace had established itself as an independent non-for-profit organization that plays a critically important role on environmental protection in various issues such as climate change (sees figure 1), protecting ancient forests, defending Oceans, complaining against genetic engineering, eliminating toxic chemicals and so on. Unlike many other nongovernmental organizations, Greenpeace refuse to accept donations from any governments or companies which it believes will influence its independence, and that may explain the fact that it can operate in over 40 countries globally without too much resistance from the local governments. And Green peace is famous for its high profiled, non-violent conflicts to attract attention from the public after careful researches into the issues which they believe will damage the already fragile environment situation in any forms in any part of the world.

Figure 2 Sarawak rainforest in Malaysia is under threat

With only help from individuals worldwide, for Greenpeace, getting help from its current 2.8 supporters and motivate more people to stand up against the environment degradation is of great significance. So the social marketing designed to motivate the individuals to follow Greenpeace’s move is very important. Below the discussion of the utilization of marketing’s 4Ps in its social marketing can be helpful in understanding the business model of Greenpeace in the area of stopping the climate change which is a hot topic in the 21st century.

2. Apply marketing’s 4 Ps in stopping climate change

Social marketing is the adoption of commercial marketing principles, concepts and techniques in promoting social changes to achieve common goods for the society (Kotler, Roberto & Lee 2002). We will see some differences between social marketing and commercial marketing in the analysis of 4Ps in this part of the essay. Note that because the Greenpeace focuses on a variety of issues in the environment protection, here the issue of climate change is selected as an example.

2.1 Product

Climate change is generally known as global warming, the forming of global warming is directly linked to the rising atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide according to mass studies (Leahy 2007). There are two major solutions that provided by Greenpeace to reduce emission of the carbon dioxide as social products in the product concept. The product concept here is not limited to the physical products that any business entities may provide, it is actually a solution to the problem like the solutions to the climate change here urged by Greenpeace, in this point the product is more like the service product, it is invisible bring value to the target customers.

The first social product is the forest protection as a solution to the climate change. The logging and burning of the forest accounts for as much as 20 percent of the volume of carbon dioxide emission in a global scale more than the emission caused by the transportation which is well known as the cause of global climate changes (Johnson 2009). Base on this knowledge, Greenpeace has been long called for a ban on the deforestation by 2020 which virtually will reduce the carbon dioxide by five thousand MtCO2 per year. And Greenpeace in its Greenpeace Climate Vision (2009) also provide solutions to achieve zero deforestation in 2020: create a financial mechanism, improving forest governance and ban against forest consumption products.

The second social product is the use of clean power as a measure to reduce to dependence to traditional power. The traditional global energy source configuration (see chart 1) is a major cause of the rising up volume of carbon dioxide. As stated in the chart below, oil and coal are the major source of energy, they are considered as dirty energy because of the mass carbon dioxide generated during the consumption of these energies, but they account more than a half of the energy source configuration in 2006 and even now.

Chart 1 Global energy carriers in 2006
In the energy sector, Greenpeace also provides its solutions to tackle this problem. Reducing the energy demand is one of the solutions. The energy demand reduction could achieved through improving the efficiency of in buildings and other sectors and such as vehicles, outdating the inefficient, and heavy energy reliant industries could also be helpful. Another solution is to increase the use of the clean energy by using renewable technologies. This could be achieved by using more ocean energy, bio-fuel, solar power, wind power and geothermal energy. For example, encourage the use of electrical vehicles will decrease the reliance on oils. What’s more increasing the use of clean energy and reduce the total energy demand will require and result in the reduction of the use of coal which is not renewable and clean.

2.2 Price

The price concept refer to what the consumer must do or pay to get the social product that provided by the organizations (Weinreich 2006). The price can be money that paid to time and effort that sacrificed by individuals, and even risks that bored. With the analysis above, there are many ways in which individuals as the major supporters of Greenpeace can provide help to obtain the social products to fight against climate changes.

Figure 3 Take actions

Firstly, donating money to Greenpeace is the most used way to help Greenpeace. As seen in figure 3, ships and boats from the establishment of Greenpeace has been adopted as a way of demonstrations against many issues and behaviors which in Greenpeace’s view contributes to the damage of the fragile environment, but it is understandable that many people would not try to risk themselves on these ships floating in the oceans and perform some dangers actions. But donations are relatively easier for common people to provide their help to Greenpeace if they agree with the value and decision of Greenpeace. Donation could be made to Greenpeace international or any particular country in which Greenpeace has a business operating. And donation can be made through various payment ways such as donation by post.

Secondly, become a volunteer of Greenpeace can also help Greenpeace. By becoming a volunteer of Greenpeace, people would be able to provide help by carrying the tasks and actions designed by Greenpeace to stop the climate change such as demonstrations and holding a forum for public discussion to raise the public attention on the climate changes in order to get support from the public and force the authority to support the Greenpeace’s claiming to protect the environment.

Thirdly, people can help reduce the climate changes in life. There are so many ways in which people can help mitigate the climate changes in their common life. Use less tissues and other products that are made up of woods or will contribute to deforestation can help reduce the deforestation. And take more public transportation can also assist reaching the target of reducing the oil consumption which generates carbon dioxide. And keep a simple life is very important, by consuming less and save up electricity for example, if adopted by everyone globally will finally attributing to the decreasing of the total energy demand which fundamentally solve the problem of climate changes.

On the other hand, there is another price that may be paid by the people involving the environmental protection. It is the consequence that must be accepted by the people. Like in this case, if the majority of the people refuse to pay the price to “buy” the social product to help reduce the climate changes, then the bad consequence of the climate change will be waiting for the people which are in most case cannot be avoided. According to the Greenpeace Climate Vision (2009) an increase in global temperature of just 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels could lead to irreversible impacts, and a 2°C increase risks triggering catastrophic runaway climate change. And every year there are millions of people get harmed by the climate changes caused floods, storms and droughts. Such bad results will be on the people and even the next generations if insufficient effort is put in stopping the fast climate change.

2.3 Place

The place of the marketing mix involves the strategies adopted by the organizations to distribute the product or service they provide to the end users (Unknown 2009). First of all, there are several kinds of end users which will require different way of distribution of the social products from Greenpeace.

For the governments that directly or indirectly support the industries that caused the climate changes or these governments are not controlling the emission of the green house gas, the Greenpeace will use peaceful but persisting ways to show their disagreement such as demonstrations.

For those companies and organizations that focus on the industries that contribute to the environmental damage, the Greenpeace will use legal ways, negotiations and other ways to put the companies under public pressure or legal consequences. For example, in 2002 Greenpeace started to get involved in old forest protection against logging in Lapland, Finland. In 2005 Greenpeace established an international Forest Rescue Station in the woodland of Nellim to help identify the reindeer forest which was under threatening. And at the same time the Greenpeace started a lawsuit against the logging company on the court trying to solve the problem in a legal way and meanwhile put the company under public pressure. And in year 2009 the logging company finally agree to leave the indentified areas under the continue pressure from Greenpeace and public as well.

And for the individuals, the Greenpeace use many ways to encourage their participating in the Greenpeace’s movements to strive for the environment protection. People can obtain the news and knowledge of Greenpeace through visiting its official website or by mail. Greenpeace tries to use persuasion as a manner to encourage the individual to protect or at least not to damage the environment.

2.4 Promotion

The function of promotion mix refers to the process of communicating the customers with the products and services offered by the organizations. And in the social marketing, considering the fact that many social products and ideas provided by the non-for-profit organizations are pretty professional and not very much interesting, the promotion strategy to communicate the people with the importance of the social products is very critical. There are many usual marketing mixes that are used by the Greenpeace such as advertising, public relations and internet marketing.

In the sector of using advertising as a strategy of promotion, Greenpeace does create a lot of advertisements to attract attention or even provoke public debates. And many of these advertisements are even made around our life and close to the scene of the behaviors that cause environment damages.

Figure 4 Forest crime scene

Like this demonstrating advertisement that made from the scene in which the tissue giant Kimberly-Clark was on the sale promotion to sell more Cottonelle toilet paper, but the Greenpeace used this opportunity to advertised for their idea against the cutting of the old forest wood which was the source of the Cottonelle toilet paper. And there are many other ways of advertising. Such as advertising on the newspaper and magazines are the most used ways of promotion mix. Take a look at the magazine advertisement by the Greenpeace China to protest against the deforestation in the world. In the figure below, the world is made like a kind of virus because of the logging of all its forest, and it represents that the world is trying to revenge the human being by over logging the forest and break the balance of nature.

Figure 5 Greenpeace China magazine ads

And the figure 6 is the magazine ad designed by our group:

Figure 6 The place you must visit

The meaning of the magazine ad above is that as the logging of the Amazon forest continues, the forest will disappear, so it is advisable that the tourist come to visit the forest. It implies that forest in the Amazon area should be protect or else it will disappear!

3. The use of social marketing in the field of environmental protection

Use the marketing principle and practices in the field of environmental protection brings a lot of benefits.

First of all, using the commercial way of marketing in the environmental protection, such as advertisements and direct mailing and internet marketing, will bring the non for profit organizations more chance to be exposed to the public together with their value and mission that these organizations eager to share with the society. Nowadays, people have more measures to access to the internet and TVs and magazines. By advertising in these media, for example the Greenpeace in this case will by posting magazine ads, TV ads and internet ads will attract more people’s attention to the issues of deforestation and furthermore influence their supportive behaviors in the long run.

The second benefit of the social marketing is that it helps reduce the commercial feature of marketing. The appearance of the social marketing has redefined the content of marketing. It is not only can be used in the commercial purpose to ask people to consume as more as possible, it can also be used to persuade people to consume less and protect the environment and do other things that are in the purpose of striving for the general good of the society and for the human beings and even the animals.

4. Conclusion

With the discussion above and the analysis of the 4Ps in the social market concept of the Greenpeace as an example in the pursuit of solving the issue of climate change, we can make some conclusions about the social marketing. Although it seems that social marketing is so far proved by many examples as effective in many areas such as environment protection. Social marketing is not a simple process of using the marketing concepts in the social purpose, some concepts such as the 4Ps, the production, place, promotion and price concept in the social marketing need to be changed to fit the use in the situation of social marketing. And on the other hand, we should also be careful about using the social marketing because all in all the application of the commercial factors in the social purpose should not be too much even though it is effective. Just like the fact that people are more and more getting bored by the tricky advertisements in the social marketing. 

Johnson, T., 2009, Deforestation and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions, last accessed on December 21st 2009, online:

Kotler, K, Roberto, N. & Lee, N., 2002, Social marketing: improving the quality of life 2nd edition, Sage Publications, Inc, California

Leahy, S., 2007, Co2 levels begin accelerated climb, last accessed on Oct 26, 2007, online:

Unknown 2010, About Greenpeace, online:

Unknown 2009, Greenpeace Climate Vision, Greenpeace International, Amsterdam

Unknown 2009, Marketing Mix: Place, online:

Weinreich, N. K., 2006, What is Social Marketing?, online: