How to Avoid Greenwashing?

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    Guide Author

    James Longley

    Managing Director

    min read

    Over the past decade or so, more businesses have made public commitments to fighting climate change – through carbon offsetting, switches to renewable energy sources, pledges to achieve net zero targets and lots of other activities.

    However, as climate change continues to climb up the public agenda, so too has the scrutiny of these green efforts. In some quarters, the scrutiny of some businesses’ activities has led to accusations of greenwashing. It’s ultimately a situation that can spiral into a PR disaster that causes serious damage to a brand’s reputation – regardless of how much consumer goodwill they’ve accumulated over the years.

    So, how do businesses avoid falling into the trap of greenwashing? Well, firstly, we need to understand what it is.

    Why is Greenwashing Bad?

    Greenwashing is bad because, when it goes undetected, nothing gets done. There’s no action against tackling climate change.

    When consumers do identify it, again, there’s no benefit for the climate, and their trust in the brand is damaged. This can result in them spending their money elsewhere – with rival companies that can back up their sustainability credentials or those that haven’t been dishonest.

    It creates negative headlines and sometimes results in brands having to invest significant amounts of money in brand rehabilitation, with no guarantee of preparing that tarnished image.

    How Can Companies Avoid Greenwashing?

    Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to avoiding greenwashing. It’s important to treat consumers with respect.

    So, this means backing up claims about the eco-conscious, environmentally friendly, sustainable qualities of a product or service with proper data. It’s better to not make the claim in the first place than to be caught if it’s fabricated. Having credible third-party certifications or accreditations can help with this aspect too.

    Similarly, it also means not stretching the truth. For example, if a business produces a ‘green product’ that’s designed to be used again and again, but the manufacturing process is intensive and results in high carbon dioxide emissions, it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of positioning it as more sustainable than it actually is.

    With the green agenda becoming more and more prominent, consumers are only going to become more educated when it comes to spotting greenwashing. Putting ‘eco-friendly’ on a piece of marketing, a green variation of your brand’s logo or a picture of the globe alone isn’t going to cut it. There must be a genuine story behind it.

    More from Utility Bidder

    Are you considering making the switch to a renewable energy source? Utility Bidder can help you secure the best deal. We work with many of the best business green energy suppliers in the industry. Get an immediate price or speak to one of our energy specialists today by calling: 0800 007 4001.

     

     

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