What is greenwashing? It’s getting a big, green checkmark for an eco-effort that maybe isn’t as meaningful as it seems. It’s when a business takes an action they want to publicize without making substantive changes to the products or services they provide. Greenwashing could hit you where it hurts the most—in your wallet—because your customers won’t like being tricked into thinking your business is more responsible than it actually is. This is why you should avoid greenwashing in your marketing efforts and follow our 5 tips!
Identify your green initiative & make it crystal clear
Whether your company is a sustainable fashion brand, a technology start-up or a service, start by identifying the environmental initiatives and sustainable areas you are targeting. Reducing waste that would otherwise end up in landfills, planting trees, promoting environmental action, whatever it is, be clear on it from the start.
Pro tip: Make sure your claims are clear and easy to understand, be specific and don’t use misleading language, use specific units of measurement. ⚖️
“More sustainable goods and services lower your overhead, reduce risk, drive stakeholder and employee engagement, and open new market opportunities.” – Sustain Life
Set realistic goals
Understand your carbon emission and what it would mean to reduce it by a certain amount for your business and for the environment. Is it feasible? Is it sustainable? Be realistic when making net-zero claims. While it may sound good, when/if you are not able to maintain those promises, the fallout will be far worse than using less sensational numbers – or worse yet claims of offsetting arise, leading to speculation about the brand as a whole.
Pro tip: If you have committed to a cause make sure you are actively working on it and align yourself with other brands that have similar missions. At e.pop, we chose to put trees back where they belong and are doing so by partnering with several tree-planting organizations, such as American Forests, Ecologi and Veritree. This is all to fulfill #ourjourneytoplantamilliontreesby2025.
Back up your sustainability claim with data & commit to transparency
Transparency. Transparency. Transparency. 🔍 If you claim your product or service is eco friendly, back it up with some honest evidence. Give your audience a peek into what goes on behind the scenes in your supply chain. Make sure your claims are verifiable and meet international standards by trusted organizations.
Pro tip: Learn to distinguish between general information about the sustainability of your company and specific information about the benefits of the individual product. This will allow you to provide more targeted statistics and avoid any confusion.
Make sure visual claims and labels are helpful and not confusing
Focus only on symbols, images, and labels that support your claim and don’t give a false impression of what your product or service can achieve, sustainability-wise. Be sure your branding is centered around your vision and not only the environment. While you may have a well-founded commitment to the environment, you also have a product or service you are trying to sell. Your sustainability efforts should be baked into the marketing of your goods, not overshadow them.
Pro tip: Comparing your brand or product to others should not lead to any misunderstandings about your commitment to sustainability. Compare yourself with others like you – apple to apples, not apples to oranges 🍎
Be Mindful of Who You Partner With
Remember to choose your partners wisely. If you were to choose your partners with an alternative motive than what you are promoting, you could risk confusing your audience and give your sustainably-minded customers a negative impression of your company as a whole. Look into your partnership prospects. Make sure they do what they say they are doing and can commit to whatever cause you are investing in with them.
Pro tip: Look into every aspect of your business when choosing partners. Find organizations that align with your own values. At e.pop, we have partnered with tree planting partnerships that align with our mission and technology partners that geotag the trees we plant, in order to avoid any speculation about our integrity.
Want to partner with us? Learn more about our partnerships here.
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