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The factors which contributed to the marketing success of Fiji Water were its unique product positioning, innovative packaging, premium-product pricing, effective distribution, and image-creating publicity.
Due to its light mineralization, FIJI Water was characterized by a smooth taste and no aftertaste. The light mineralization also gave the water a clean, pure taste. In addition to superb taste, the water had a high level of silica, the ingredient that was believed to promote rejuvenation and anti-aging. Also, the water is very pure as the source of the water was a virgin, unpolluted ecosystem.
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Another important element was packaging. For many years, all bottles containing natural water were the same round, with paper labels. Natural Waters of Viti Ltd. was the first company in the industry to use a square bottle. Furthermore, since FIJI was the only brand that came from a tropical paradise, the packaging reflected that in an artful and compelling way: consumers could see that immediately when they looked at the unique square bottle bearing bright, three-dimensional graphics.
Similarly to packaging, a premium-price policy reinforced the product’s high-quality image.
Another important factor that had contributed to FIJI Water’s success was its distribution. Having good distributors was important in that it enabled the brand to be well-placed in and readily available to the market.
Building an image of the high quality, uniqueness and class of the product was another aspect of this successful marketing campaign. The brand achieved an explosive growth early on, mostly through word-of-mouth advertising, free product placement and targeted sampling. FIJI Water targeted locations and venues that resonated with the brand’s premium image.
What does it mean for FIJI Water to go carbon negative?How does one measure and report carbon footprints of products?Is the carbon footprint of FIJIWater big compared to other products?
Answer: In response to the environmentalists’ criticism, in 2008 FIJI Water launched a “carbon negative” PR campaign. As part of its “carbon negative” campaign, FIJI Water was planning to offset its total carbon footprint by 120 per cent, by removing from the earth’s atmosphere not only all the emissions its activities produced, but also an additional 20 per cent. In that sense, the company’s impact on carbon emissions would be negative.
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While measuring its carbon footprint, FIJI Water calculated its carbon emissions across every stage in the product lifecycle: starting from producing raw materials for packaging, through transporting raw materials and equipment to the plant, manufacturing and filling bottles, shipping the product from Fiji to markets worldwide, distributing the product, refrigerating the product in stores, restaurants, and other outlets, to disposing/recycling the packaging waste. It estimated that about 75 per cent of its carbon emissions resulted from the operations of supply chain partners.
Fiji is using staggering amounts of energy, water, and fossil fuels to take a naturally occurring product, put it in an inherently problematic container and then have that forever-container tossed into landfills or incinerators all over America. A few important figures for environmental impact included:
- 5,500 miles per trip from Fiji to Los Angeles for transportation
- 46 million gallons of fossil fuel
- 1.3 billion gallons of water
- 216,000,000 pounds of greenhouse gases produced
What is greenwashing and how can it be identified?Do you think FIJI Water is engaged in greenwashing?What could the company do to gain environmental credibility?
Greenwashing is defined as “Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.” As part of its “carbon negative” campaign, FIJI Water was planning to offset its total carbon footprint by120 per cent, thereby becoming carbon negative. FIJI Water claimed to have already implemented several measures to reduce its carbon emissions. By optimizing its logistics, the company had reduced trucking miles by 26 per cent on average. FIJI Water’s 1.5-litre bottle had been redesigned to reduce the packaging by seven per cent. The company had also managed to reduce motor fuel consumption in Fiji by 50 per cent by using more fuel-efficient trucks in transporting its products from the plant to ports. Conservation groups however, argued that the new website launched by FIJI Water in 2008 (www.fijigreen.com) to sell its carbon negative message failed to provide a detailed description of the actual calculation of its carbon footprint and its reduction by the measures that were promised to be implemented in the future. At the same time, the groups pointed to the basic carbon footprint advantages of consuming local tap water. They argued that the new slogan “every drop is green” was straightforward greenwashing pushed to its limits. Green researchers found that the manufacture and transport of that one kilogram bottle of Fiji water consumed 26.88 kilograms of water (7.1 gallons), .849 kilograms of fossil fuel (one litre or .26 gallons) and emitted 562 grams of Greenhouse Gases (1.2 pounds). So, we can say that Fiji Water engaged in Greenwashing. In order to gain credibility, it will have to live up to its promise of becoming a carbon negative company. Any attempt to engage in greenwashing will be quickly identified and protested by environmental groups. Keeping true to its slogan “every drop is green” will require substantial new investment in a renewable energy plant and equipment and in tree-planting offset activities. Designing and implementing a sustainable growth strategy and a socially and environmentally responsible marketing plan will require dealing effectively with the promise to go carbon negative as well as meeting the demanding needs of customers, clients and other stakeholders.
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