More and more consumers are boycotting their favourite brands in favour of their values.
But what is the major moral dilemma causing shoppers to take their custom elsewhere?
You might have heard of ‘greenwashing,’ but do you know how big of an impact it’s having on household brands?
Don’t worry; this article will cover all the bases:
- What is greenwashing?
- Is it a big problem?
- The impact of greenwashing on household brands
- How to avoid greenwashing accusations
What is greenwashing?
Greenwashing is the phenomenon of brands misleading the public about their commitments to climate change. This often takes the form of overpromising and underdelivering on climate commitments, whether intentionally or otherwise.
And why? To appeal to the ever-growing number of consumers that are concerned about the environment – especially millennials and the younger generations.
Did you know: 75% of millennials are eco-conscious enough to change their buying habits.
Is it a big problem?
Climate change is a topic that businesses of all sizes are expected to tackle. As such, many have introduced climate policies and commitments, some of which are more ambitious than others.
Admirable as that may be, it has backfired big time for the businesses that were ill-equipped or unprepared to keep to their agreements. It’s also diluted confidence in household brands’ green policies more generally.
According to research by Sensu Insight, a majority of UK consumers don’t take corporate environmental policies at face value.
Of those, 14% outright disbelieve businesses’ eco claims and a massive 71% assume that most claims are unverified. A further 34% also say that they have seen brands making eco claims without providing any evidence. Unsurprisingly, this has damaged consumer trust.
Amongst the sectors least likely to be believed by the public are fashion brands and car manufacturers. Retailers, grocers, and supermarkets suffer much less from a lack of customer confidence, but are by no means immune to scepticism.
The impact of greenwashing on household brands
As a result of widespread distrust, consumers are making an effort to be more mindful of where they shop.
Almost 10% of British shoppers apparently boycott brands that have come under fire from greenwashing accusations. While not all eco-conscious consumers go as far, just under a quarter report actively spending less money with greenwashing brands.
The impact of greenwashing has the potential to be wide-reaching, and some companies have taken a hit to their reputations.
Sales, consumer loyalty, and talent attraction may suffer as a result.
How to avoid greenwashing accusations
People are the best buffer you have against greenwashing accusations.
In other words: by hiring skilled talent with specialist sustainability experience, you’re much more likely to make good on your commitments. With this sort of effective peoplepower, you’ll be better prepared to set realistic climate goals, keep them on-track, and prevent consumers boycotting your brand.
Ideally, you’ll aim to do this sooner rather than later, since greenwashing claims make you less attractive to top talent. In fact, 17% of people said they would be dissuaded from working for brands accused of greenwashing. Clearly, it’s not just consumers who are becoming more values driven.
Do you want to strengthen your company’s commitments to the climate and avoid greenwashing claims?
Get in touch today!
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