Sustainability

How avoiding Greenwashing can strengthen your brand Position: In Conversation with Zoë Lee.

Greenwashing can harm your brand position, but communicating credibly about your sustainability commitments can strengthen it. Learn how you can strengthen your brand position by avoiding greenwashing in this blog.

Words:
Keisha Sintim-Lewis
Images:
Adobe
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Greenwashing has become more widespread than ever. In 2021 alone, 42% of green claims were exaggerated, false, or deceptive. Greenwashing can be defined as actions by companies to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it is.

As global efforts to halt climate change accelerate, so have efforts to crack down on greenwashing. Tighter legislation has been introduced, such as the EU Law, and hefty fines have been imposed on some of the world’s biggest brands to deter organisations from this deceptive method of communication. Greenwashing can have an adverse effect on your organisation’s brand reputation reducing consumer confidence and purchase intent.

We sat down with Planet Mark’s Head of Strategy and Communications, Zoë Lee, to discuss how your organisation can strengthen its brand position by avoiding greenwashing and effectively communicating your sustainability journey.

Greenwashing damages a brand’s reputation

Aside from being ethically unsound, one of the biggest problems with greenwashing is that it fundamentally damages your brand reputation by creating distrust and tarnishing key relationships with stakeholders.

A relationship that lacks trust.

Greenwashing undermines the credibility of an organisation. False claims revealed to be untrue will stick to your organisation’s digital footprint creating negative brand perception. Unlike the saying, not all press is good press, the negative brand perception associated with your organisation may alter consumer behaviour – a recent study highlighted 81% of consumers research a brand before making a purchase.

This weakened brand perception “It can falsely cast doubt on other claims that you’ve made that are potentially accurate and can ultimately erode consumer trust and confidence in your organisation”, said Zoë Lee.

The Moral Compass

It goes without saying that your organisation should avoid greenwashing because it’s fundamentally wrong, misleading and unethical. When your organisation releases deceptive messaging, it only adds to the “negative haze of misleading information” and ultimately damages the impact of truly good action.

“Consumers, clients and investors are thinking more ethically,” said Zoë Lee. As a result, your organisation will be held accountable for acting unethically.

Communicating credibly – The key to strengthening your brand position and avoiding greenwashing.

Credibly communicating your sustainability journey has the opposite effect on an organisation’s brand position. Your organisation can build trust and “help lead by example” by telling your sustainability story with accuracy and honesty which helps present “clear, transparent and robust messaging to your stakeholders”. Communicating your sustainability story substantiated by data and fact is in your organisation’s best interest to help stakeholders make better-informed decisions and build advocacy.

Accurate messaging can also help your organisation attract and retain the best talent. “We are finding that brands that embed sustainability into their strategy, marketing and messaging are generally better able to attract and retain talent,” said Zoë Lee. Similar to consumer confidence, individuals are looking to work for brands that are authentic and accurate in their messaging. For example, a recent study found 79% of millennial employees are loyal to companies that care about their effect on society and will increasingly favour employers with progressive Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) credentials.                                                                                                                                                                                           

With better-informed stakeholders, now is the time for your organisation to share its sustainability efforts with confidence and credibility.

How Planet Mark supports hundreds of organisations communicate credibly?

Progress Backed by Data

Companies can avoid greenwashing by ensuring their sustainability claims are fact-checked and third-party verified to remove any bias. Planet Mark’s third-party verification can help your organisation demonstrate its sustainability credentials with accuracy and confidence. Backed by data, we help organisations measure their carbon footprint, engage their employees and stakeholders, and communicate their efforts effectively.

Our certificates are external facing, providing your stakeholders with a holistic view of your sustainability efforts. Our certificates include your organisations carbon footprint, year on year reductions, how many sustainable development goals you have contribute too and more.

Alignment with Reputable Brands

Aligning sustainability efforts with global and national targets, frameworks, and standards puts organisations in the best position to ensure they’re doing good. Planet Mark’s services are all underpinned with clear, well-established and reputable sustainability frameworks. For example, our Business Certification is aligned with GHG protocol, and our Net Zero programme is aligned with the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Our services help secure confidence that your sustainability efforts are truly impactful and aligned with the current frameworks.

A Holistic approach to communicating your sustainability.

Stakeholders appreciate organisations who don’t just tell their story but show their story, accessibility to your data is crucial to avoiding greenwashing and growing consumer confidence. Planet Mark takes a holistic approach to communicating your organisation’s sustainability.

Through our certificates, which are external facing, stakeholders can see an organisations year on year reductions, how many sustainable development goals your organisation has contributed to and more.

Similarly, our communication experts help your organisation bring your data to life to ensure your external messaging is engaging and accurate.

Getting started with communicating your sustainability.

Clear and credible communications of your organisation’s sustainability efforts put you in the best position to avoid greenwashing and strengthen your brand position.

To learn how to credibly communicate your sustainability efforts download our complete guide to communicating credibly.

Download our anti-greenwashing guide
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Tuesday 23th April 2024, 01:00 pm - 02:00 pm