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12 August 2021
Avoiding the perils of ‘greenwashing’
Brand valuationCorporate social responsibilityEnvironmental & social issues
With more brands prioritising sustainability, the practice of greenwashing – promoting ‘green’ initiatives which are more virtue signalling than impactful – is starting to be called out by consumers.
Only one-fifth of consumers trust the sustainability claims made by brands, new research suggests. But brands that take action on climate change or that clearly demonstrate ethical practices are resonating, according to Sairah Ashman, Global CEO at Wolff Olins.
Why it matters
‘Greenwashing’ is dangerous because it can be such a powerful marketing tool. By using it, brands can mislead people into buying products and propping up business practices that are harmful to the environment and contribute to the climate crisis.
By centring their practices around sustainability and protecting the environment, brands can very rapidly build global fame and relevance.
Now that everyone has a platform, brands can no longer get away with spin and deception to boost their image with customers, investors or employees.
Being transparent, open and honest with consumers, employees and investors goes a long way to building trust and preventing a backlash or fallout later down the line.
“Be the first to call out where you are failing and then publicly make a plan to address these areas and monitor and measure your performance.”