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What is greenwashing, and how can your company’s marketing avoid it?

Let’s start with the simple question: what is greenwashing? Investopedia explains that greenwashing “involves making an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly or have a greater environmental impact than they actually do.”

With the United Nations warning that greenwashing “undermines credible efforts to reduce emissions and address the climate crisis”, it’s no wonder that slipping into greenwashing — even inadvertently — can damage your brand. What can you do to guard against this prospect?

Be clear about what your company is claiming

One study found that 77% of UK consumers don’t understand what brands mean when they refer to sustainability. Worse, 81% were distrustful of brands’ claims about their sustainability and environmental objectives.

You need to be very careful what words you use to describe your eco-friendly credentials. If you aren’t sure exactly how to go about this task, why not hand it over to our copywriting team? Our writers are adept at discerning what to say — and how to say it — in web copy.

Cite your environmental track record

Tempted though you may be to declare that your products or services can help members of your target audience to reduce their carbon emissions by so-and-so percent, it’s a risky strategy. After all, if you fail to meet this pledge, you could violate trust and potentially even be hit with legal action.

It would be a much safer bet for you to highlight what you have already done to tackle climate change — with firm statistics to back it all up.

Strike partnerships with the right companies (and people)

Even if you aren’t necessarily able to land an endorsement from a respected figure in the green movement, like Sir David Attenborough or Steve Backshall, you could forge partnerships with companies that have similarly proved their worth in the environmental game.

For example, if you run a tech store, there might be another company that specialises in recycling old electronics and would be happy to also offer this service under your brand’s own banner.

Keep relevant statistics at close hand

That way, if anyone does object to a particular green claim you are making, you will be able to fetch whatever statistic(s) led you to originally make it.

Did you know that about 26% of greenwashing lawsuits result from the defendant being unable to easily verify their claims either with data or via a third party? It’s clear, then, that it’s worth treading meticulously with your sustainability messaging now to prevent the risk of getting sued later.

Reach out to Webahead Internet for further advice

We at Webahead Internet can steer your business to success through many different digital marketing channels, all the while helping you to ensure that your green claims stand up to scrutiny.

You can tap into our time-served expertise when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media marketing and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. If you will be working with us for the first time, consider easing yourself in gently with our entry-level Starter package.

What is greenwashing, and how can your company’s marketing avoid it?
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