Real talk with Redzone: Dashni Vilakazi
Rather than focusing on their ‘green glow’, marketers and brands should focus more on sustainable development in their products and services
Marketers and brand managers love to stay on trend when it comes to the latest advertising developments — sometimes to the detriment of their own brands. The MediaShop’s Dashni Vilakazi, MD of the Joburg office, takes a look at the latest greenwashing trend.
Greenwashing is essentially promoting products and services that are good for the planet and its people — a noble cause at first glance. Sustainability and greenwashing in advertising are ubiquitous, wielding a huge amount of power and influence.
I believe that all products and services should have sustainability at their heart, and we all need to be more aware of how we 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 South Africa, 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 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, absolutely, 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 makes claims like utilising energy-efficient lighting — I have to wonder if that isn’t just a bit of a spin.
Some brands have a large focus on their “green glow” when in reality their actual efforts in climate change and eco-friendly marketing are quite small and could be damaging to their reputation if they purport to be doing more for the environment than they actually are.
I’d suggest that marketers and brands focus more on sustainable development in their products and services. The Global Goals, as they’re known, include deliverables like clean water and sanitation, poverty alleviation, gender equality and so on. These are tactics that companies can actively 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!
Visit The MediaShop at www.mediashop.co.za
* Vilakazi is MD of The MediaShop Joburg
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