We live on an environmentally endangered planet, and this claim, unfortunately, is getting more and more apparent. According to Nielsen's Global Corporate Sustainability Report, most consumers are aware of the situation's reasons, from 66% to 75% of customers prefer to buy products from environmentally conscious brands.
Customers' demand for eco-responsibility and sustainability became the reason companies invest more in their environmental marketing, i.e., minimizing their negative impact on the environment. However, for many companies, it became rather a matter of mere promoting themselves as environmentally friendly without taking real steps towards reducing their businesses' harmful impact on nature. This practice of creating the impression of eco-friendliness without any truthful evidence of being such, thus deceiving customers looking for products from socially and environmentally conscious companies, is called greenwashing.
These two strategies – green or environmental marketing, and greenwashing – are seemingly about the same thing – educating customers on a company’s environmental efforts, and still, they are of totally different outcomes.
Green marketing shows an honest and transparent picture of a company's real efforts on reducing its environmental impact while greenwashing is playing with "eco-friendly" labels to create the corresponding image. The first shows the true state of things regarding a company’s environmental efforts, the second often directly aims at lying to consumers about a company’s eco- endeavors, what can lead to detrimental consequences both for the company’s reputation and what is inarguably much worse – for the environment and people’s health.
Green Marketing: Why is it necessary in today’s world?
Unfortunately, greenwashing became an exceedingly popular scenario of developing a company’s alleged environmental accomplishments. Just use a couple of “green” words in your company’s motto or slogan, add some eco-friendly images to the content – and here it is - your eco-positive image! But without any objective shreds of evidence and often – to simply camouflage the absence of a company’s real environmental efforts. Still, alongside greenwashing, exists another - honest and transparent - approach to companies’ environmental measures and their presentation, which is called green or ecological marketing. In contrast to greenwashing, green marketing is all about the actual pro-environmental actions with its concentration on posturing and the absence of external verification or evidence. Companies present their objective reports on the work done to reduce the negative impact on the environment.
The importance of following the concept of green marketing and its skillful presentation is already high and will grow exponentially in the future. To promote any company’s goals and views on the internet, it is vital to work with professionals and opt for buying quality backlinks at Linksmanagement. With proper marketing techniques, it is easy to achieve the desired online visibility among the targeted audiences. This approach is crucially important, as, in the today's world, we have a constantly growing amount of environmentally conscious consumers – millennials and Gen Z’ers – who demand social responsibility and sustainability from companies, who want to see cleaner manufacturing processes, recycling, avoidance of overuse of non-renewable resources and harmful or potentially harmful ingredients. These generations of consumers want to witness the whole spectrum of the positive and objective environmental moves, proved with evidence, and only green or ecological marketing can fill this need!
The distinctive features of Green Marketing and how to stick to them
The distinctive features of green marketing that differ it from greenwashing are not only in its ethical and truthful position in presenting environmental efforts but also in selling products based on their legitimate environmentally positive features. This means that the products or services offered within green marketing campaigns must meet these criteria:
- Designed as rather a repairable than a disposable product;
- Free of ozone-depleting substances and toxic materials;
- Is produced from recycled or renewable resources;
- Do not have excessive packaging;
- Produced sustainably.
If you chose to follow the concept of green marketing in implementing and presenting your environmental measures, not to become confused with those who decided to greenwash and show your authenticity, you should follow the following tactics of green marketing:
Objectivity and truthfulness are the first and foremost attributes of environmental marketing. Even if a company’s ecological efforts are beyond any compliments and are worthy of excellent presentation, you should never exaggerate or being too obtrusive. And there also should never be mentioned any practices where there was no real engagement of the company.
Showing visible proof
Unlike greenwashing, green marketing aims to be transparent and honest with customers. So, instead of just making attractive 'green' claims, provide transparent and verifiable proof on making real steps towards increasing sustainability and eco-friendliness. Showing videos and photos of ecological initiatives on social media platforms usually serve this goal best.
The 6 tips on how to avoid greenwashing
The effect of greenwashing is always negative either for environmental issues or initiatives on improving eco-efforts. But greenwashing is not always made consciously and with bad intentions. It is often the result of companies’ lack of expertise on this question. To stay away from greenwashing and being accused of it, just follow these 6 uncomplicated tips:
No excessive ‘green’ language
Get rid of using words like ‘eco-friendly’, ‘green consciousness’, etc.
Ward off pictures that bring an unjustified ‘green’ impression
Make the same with the images oversaturated with the ‘greenness’, especially if they are manipulative by their nature.
Avoid ‘greening’ of dangerous products
Before mentioning any products, make research on them first, and once you notice information on their environmentally bad reputation, just stop speaking of them!
Don’t use the language that only specialists can understand
Make your messages more approachable.
Mention only real third-party endorsements
Don’t refer to any ‘imaginary’ friends to support your arguments or products. Sooner or later, the lie will be exposed!
Make claims that have evidence
This will help to build trust to your company and put down any further suspicion of greenwashing.
Green marketing and greenwashing are the two different approaches to implementing and presenting a company's environmental efforts. And while green marketing is focused on objective reports on real actions made towards improving companies’ sustainability, greenwashing is about the art of creating the impression of eco-friendliness. This deceitful and unethical practice can ruin brands, violate laws, and form a negative image of environmental efforts. But it is possible to avoid greenwashing by eliminating its attributes and bringing more verifiable information into the messages. And the most effective way to prevent and fight against greenwashing is by sticking to green marketing principles and tactics!
Written by Marie Barnes
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