Protecting our planet has become more important to consumers than ever before. But, using“greenwashing” in marketing can harm your business in more ways than one. Let’s look at this trend and why it’s questionable…
According to Statista, the sustainability industry was worth $13.76 billion. The same study also projected that it will be worth $417 billion by 2030.
SO, IT IS NO SURPRISE THAT COMPANIES ARE TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS FACT.
However, some businesses are playing up their environmental efforts. That is where we come to the problem of greenwashing marketing…
Difference Between “Greenwashing” and Big Claim Marketing
There is no argument that you should overpromise in your marketing, and then overdeliver — greenwashing isn’t that.
By definition, this practice is…
OVER-AMPLIFYING, MISLEADING, AND IMPLYING PRODUCTS ARE BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT THAN THEY ARE.
One of the most common ways of doing this is adding official-looking seals to a product. Yet, these markers have no official certification or regulation at all.
Here is a chart of commonly used greenwashing labels versus verified ones from Copythatco.com:
See how this could deceive consumers into believing they are making sustainable choices?
Now, this is not to discourage you from promoting your ecological efforts. The advantages and benefits of doing business with you should always be highlighted.
That being said, there are other repercussions for greenwashing in your marketing…
Misleading Claims Have Real LEGAL Consequences
Until recently, there were no regulations for how major enterprises advertised their green status. Yet there are legal actions being taken that are changing that as we speak…
TWO MAJOR ORGANIZATIONS BEING PENALIZED FOR GREENWASHING ARE DELTA AIR LINES AND WALMART.
Currently, Delta is facing a class action lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court over specific ads. These advertisements claimed that the airline was carbon-neutral.
Representatives from Delta say the suit has no merit because its goal is to have zero emissions by 2050…
NONETHELESS, GOOD INTENTIONS ARE NOT VERIFIABLE.
For our second example, Walmart was struck by the FTC for claiming that they used recycled bamboo in certain products. And, that was a flagrant lie.
The big box chain received the largest greenwashing fine to date for this marketing fiasco — $3 million.
Despite this being a slap on the wrist for the multibillion-dollar conglomerate, it’s enough to make you think twice about using this tactic.
But there is something else to consider…
Ask Yourself THIS Before Using Greenwashing in Marketing…
Right now, think about a belief that is incredibly important to you. It could be anything at all — political, religious, moral, etc.
Then imagine if someone lied to you about it in a way that made you violate your personal values.
That would probably upset you to a greater or lesser extent, wouldn’t it? That’s exactly what happens when greenwashing is used in marketing.
If you are truly sold your business, your product, and yourself, you know it’s the best. And the best doesn’t need tricks and misleading statements.
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