Greenwashing is, unfortunately, very common among brands. This form of misinformation aims to entice green-conscious consumers into supporting a product or service, even if it isn’t necessarily eco-friendly. Harvard Business Review reveals that greenwashing can negatively affect businesses by lowering customer trust and brand credibility. Companies that have been caught greenwashing are also estimated to suffer a 1.34% decrease in their American Customer Satisfaction Index score.
In the long run, customers are less likely to support businesses that make false green claims. Here are some ways you and your marketing team can avoid greenwashing and prevent this from happening.
Avoid green buzzwords that don’t apply
The first thing to steer clear of is using green terms you don’t practice or follow. A few examples are “all-natural,” “100% recycled”, and “plastic-free.” Claiming these words without sufficient proof that your products or processes are as such deceives consumers.
Instead, choose to be honest. Don’t deem any product or service sustainable unless it’s 100% true. One example of a trustworthy brand is the retailer Ganni.
Although the brand is becoming increasingly conscious of its environmental decisions by transitioning to sustainable fabrics, it still doesn’t claim to be a “sustainable business.” They promote their environmentally-friendly efforts, but remain honest about processes that aren’t entirely green.
Be honest about your sustainable accomplishments
If you choose to promote your green initiatives, be up-front with your sustainability goals. For instance, if your brand aims to reduce production waste by 30% in a year, inform your consumers whether you accomplished this goal. Doing so establishes your transparency regarding your sustainability efforts. If you fall short of your goals, it still provides customers with the assurance that the brand is doing its best.
Eyewear brand Ace & Tate is one brand that did just that. In 2021, they released a statement explaining how using bamboo fiber in their eyewear to become sustainable actually resulted in the opposite effect: it found that the material decreased eyewear recyclability. It was bold to admit that they made a mistake on their path to sustainability, but radical transparency appears to resonate with consumers.
Actively promote your green mindset
You must tell people about your sustainable practices to gain visibility. Examples can include press releases, social media, and blog posts on your official website. This will let consumers know you’re serious and consistent about reaching certain goals.
Search engine optimization or SEO marketing is one approach that can help achieve this. By posting content with keywords relevant to both sustainability and your business’s particular niche — such as ”zero-waste fashion” for green clothing brands — consumers who prefer sustainable products and services will have a greater chance of finding you online.
For a more tailored approach, consult an SEO specialist. These experts are well-versed in viral marketing and content strategy techniques and can help you use keyword research tools and metrics so your SEO strategies reach their fullest potential.
Engage with your consumers regarding your sustainability efforts
There’s a saying that goes, ‘actions speak louder than words.’ This applies to marketing, which has to go beyond words and translate into action. Engaging in discussions and activities with your consumers about your sustainable practices is one way to achieve this. It demonstrates your wish to have a better relationship with your customers and provides an opportunity to show your green commitments. You can try starting discussions in the comments sections of your blog posts or on your social media accounts.
You can also try what the outdoor clothing company Patagonia does. The brand is committed to sustainable fashion by offering long-term repair services for its products. Doing so helps its consumers avoid buying new clothes too often—something that contributes to waste. Patagonia helps by deploying environmentally-friendly trucks across the country to help customers repair their outdoor wear.
Greenwashing decreases customer trust and ruins a company’s image. Try our tips to keep your consumers’ loyalty and support.
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