Marketing for Life Cycle Thinking

Abstract: The concept of “life cycle thinking” creates possibilities for major improve¬ments in environ¬mental performance, but compels companies to look beyond their own immediate sites and operations to consider the broader picture of their products’ or services’ environmental impact. This thesis seeks to explore company attempts to implement such life cycle thinking (LCT), and how this connects with their self-inte¬rest in terms of market success. Understanding is sought through qualitative field studies of large Swedish companies, in which data were collected from interviews, observa¬tions, and documents (Papers I, II, and V). Literature on how industry practices are understood in the life cycle community and by organisational theorists, as well as marke¬ting and green marketing theories, are also explored and compared (Papers III and IV). The traditional focus on, for example, a lack of tools and data, is replaced by a focus on organisational processes, including how life cycle goals influ¬ence internal sensemaking about green actions and how consumer and customer interest in environ¬mental matters are perceived and acted on. The results indicate that both life cycle thinking and green marketing are greatly shaped by the perceptions and sensemaking of people adapting their application to local contexts. It is concluded that both internal and external marketing are possible keys to facilitating the spread of life cycle thinking in industry. Internally, pro¬po¬¬nents of life cycle thinking are encouraged to consider the business rationales for their efforts. Commonly, these rationales concern risk mana¬ge¬¬ment; however, these rationales can also concern other matters, such as marketing and business strategies. Externally, it is suggested that compa¬nies may benefit from working more with market interaction (e.g., by means of market research and market creation) to encourage customer considera¬tion of green qualities, rather than by merely providing market information (e.g., by ecolabels) to enable such behaviour.

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