Brands should avoid touting themselves as eco-champions when they’re not
Marketers love to stay on trend when it comes to the latest ad developments, but sometimes to their own detriment: The MediaShop weighs in on the latest greenwashing trend
Greenwashing is promoting products and services that are good for the planet and its people — a noble cause at first glance.
Sustainability and greenwashing in advertising is ubiquitous, wielding a huge amount of power and influence.
I believe that all products and services should have sustainability at its heart, and we all need to be aware of how as consumers, and as marketers, influence and affect the planet and its people.
Green Brands, an international, independent and autonomous brand evaluation company with offices around the world, says greenwashing is a bubble about to burst. Consider the actions in Europe, where many companies are burning fossil fuels to the detriment of the environment.
In SA, companies that are getting it right include Earthbound Winery, a business making organic products that are pesticide free and where its workers are able to share in the company’s success and decision-making protocols. That’s an example of a real change-maker.
Lavender Hill is another business doing it right for the Earth and for its staff. It produces, as its name suggests, lavender-based products where part of the funds from the result of sales go back into the community, called Lavender Hill, that needs a good level of support. That means more money for schooling, clothing and food.
Can all businesses get it right? Yes, but I’d advise caution to brands that are touting themselves as eco-champions when they’re not. One sector that comes to mind is the fashion industry, which often make claims such as using energy-efficient lighting. I have to wonder if that isn’t just a bit of a spin.
Some brands have such a large focus on their “green glow” when, in reality, their efforts in climate change and eco-friendly marketing are quite small and could be damaging to their reputation — if it purports to be doing more for the environment than they are.
I’d suggest marketers and brands focus more on sustainable development in their products and services. The international Global Golds, as they’re known, include deliverables like clean water, sanitisation, poverty alleviation, gender equality and so on. These are tactics that companies can implement to be better providers and suppliers in our society.
Consumers will warm to businesses that do this authentically and transparently. We’re seeing a great green reset.
This article was paid for by The MediaShop (www.mediashop.co.za)