Green marketing: legend, myth, farce or prophesy?

Ken Peattie (Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Andrew Crane (University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To review the history of “green marketing” since the early 1990s and to provide a critique of both theory and practice in order to understand how the marketing discipline may yet contribute to progress towards greater sustainability.


The paper examines elements of green marketing theory and practice over the past 15 years by employing the logic of the classic paper from 1985 “Has marketing failed, or was it never really tried” of seeking to identify “false marketings” that have hampered progress.


That much of what has been commonly referred to as “green marketing” has been underpinned by neither a marketing, nor an environmental, philosophy. Five types of misconceived green marketing are identified and analysed: green spinning, green selling, green harvesting, enviropreneur marketing and compliance marketing.

Practical implications

Provides an alternative viewpoint on a much researched, but still poorly understood area of marketing, and explains why the anticipated “green revolution” in marketing prefaced by market research findings, has not more radically changed products and markets in practice.


Helps readers to understand why progress towards a more sustainable economy has proved so difficult, and outlines some of the more radical changes in thought and practice that marketing will need to adopt before it can make a substantive contribution towards greater sustainability.



Peattie, K. and Crane, A. (2005), "Green marketing: legend, myth, farce or prophesy?", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 357-370.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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