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Fashion and LifeStyle

What is Corporate Greenwashing?

With a big focus on climate change and changing practices to be more caring about the environment and the impact we’re having on our planet, there is increasing pressure on corporations to change their ways and be greener and more earth conscious. This has led to a huge movement by big corporations to either actually change their practices or to pour a lot of marketing money into creating what is becoming known as a ‘green sheen’, or greenwashing. But what is greenwashing and why should we care about it?

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is the practice of using clever and subtle marketing tactics to appear like you’re making a bigger change towards renewable energy and cleaner production than you are. It is often called out by environmental groups, and rightly so, as it is nothing short of deceitful and misleading marketing tactics to lessen the actual change that is sorely needed by companies in the modern world. A company who simply changes their product packaging from a bright red to a green color and claims to be focusing on environmental awareness for example, does little to help the environment other than some good publicity for the company.

Here’s an Example

Large manufacturing companies are no strangers to dealing with lawyers and legal action caused by toxic tort litigations for practices like dumping harmful chemicals into water sources, but we’re not talking about companies that try to hide this behavior. Many critics of big corporations announcing plans to go green and focus on the environment aim their crosshairs at the fact that these announcements almost never contain clear goals or deliverables.

For example, ExxonMobil recently caught the attention of activists for their announcement that they’d be focusing on algae-based biofuels but yet haven’t provided any real updates or offer any actual targets or improvements for its company-wide PR release of a net zero-emissions target by 2025. These critics point out that they’re using these new, rather meaningless announcements that amount to nothing more than good public relations to divert from their own internal lack of progress towards lowering their own emissions.

It Can Harm a Brand’s Reputation

While the goal from the marketing executives in a company that uses greenwashing tactics might be to increase the public opinion and gain favor amongst armchair activists, it can do the opposite and end up hurting a brand’s reputation as consumers wise up to what actually makes a difference and what is purely marketing. If you’re going to make promises as a corporation to start making meaningful changes, it’s better that you do than spend the money on greenwashing marketing. After all, the spend is likely almost the same, but the impact might not be as PR-friendly.

Greenwashing is everywhere. It’s in the bottled water company packaging which feature fresh water streams and lush green forests on labels attached to single use plastic bottles and it’s in the Starbucks ‘straw-free’ lid that uses more plastic than their traditional lid and straw combination. It’s up to consumers ultimately to spot and call out corporations for this misleading marketing to instead make real changes to their practices.

The Blogulator

Web World Developers | Digital Marketing |

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