With COP26 having ended last week, tackling climate change is at the forefront of most people’s agenda as the UK, and other countries, look to become net zero and reduce global emissions.

New research recently found that a third of UK consumers look to shop responsibly with 31% of online shoppers preferring to associate with brands that are perceived as green and use eco-friendly packaging. This has seen many businesses highlight the steps they are taking to becoming more environmentally aware.

Although it’s an incredibly important time to raise awareness of how you as individuals, and as a business, are doing your part to become more sustainable and protect our planet, it’s crucial to avoid greenwashing.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is becoming a more popular term. It refers to behaviour or activities which make people believe a company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is. For example, a brand could take an existing product and promote its sustainable virtues even if there are none, misleading consumers. A recent study carried out by the Chartered Institute of Marketing found that 49% of marketers are weary of working on sustainability marketing campaigns as they fear they will be accused of greenwashing.

How to avoid greenwashing when promoting your sustainable values and products

  1. Be fully transparent
    Communicate your brands commitment to the planet and be upfront and honest about the actions you aim to take, for example leading wet civil engineering firm Land & Water has pledged to become carbon net zero by 2030 and has highlighted the processes it is taking to get there, including making the switch to HVO fuel.
  2. State the facts
    It’s important to not label your products incorrectly, using words like eco-friendly or sustainable when your brand isn’t is incredibly misleading. This is why it’s important to only share the true facts associated to your products. Leading resin bound specialists Oltco is always transparent when it comes to its sustainable products, Recycle Base and Recycle Bound. Oltco is honest about where it gets its recycled plastic and is able to calculate the equivalent of plastic straws recycled in each square metre of Recycle Bound.
  3. It’s more than just marketing
    Your commitment towards sustainability needs to be more than just sharing a social media post – it needs to be spread company wide to show how committed you are towards environmental issues. This could be anything from implementing a recycling policy in the workplace and switching to more energy-efficient providers to encouraging a cycle to work scheme

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