Are You Guilty of Greenwashing?

Greenwashing = The act of advertising environmental claims without backing it up with real policy.

There is little doubt that playing nice with the environment can boost a brand’s appeal. The latest research from Mintel reported that a third of urban Australian’s prefer to buy products sold in eco-friendly packaging (32%), as well as those produced using sustainable sourcing methods (34%). Which is why, from a marketers stand point, the environmental card is such a tempting one to play. Going ‘green’ can have the dual benefit of  genuinely doing something good, whilst simultaneously boosting sales and your brand’s feel-good factor.

Greenwashing only becomes a ‘thing’ when businesses use their eco-friendly face to mask to darker, less sustainable practices.

For example, Nestle’s credibility took a nosedive when, despite the company’s sustainability claims, it was discovered they were abusing community water resources in North America. Starbucks green credentials also took a topple when it was discovered their stores kept taps running constantly to keep their pipes clean and germ-free. And in one of the biggest enviro-scam scandals from a few years back, Volkswagen admitted they had fitted software to cheat the emissions tests, making them appear far cleaner and greener than they really were.

Closer to home, Australian law does not take kindly to unethical marketing techniques (including greenwashing) and is there to protect consumers against any misleading claims. To stay on the right side of the law companies need to ensure that they do not overstate, directly or by implication, benefits they don’t really have. In March last year, Woolworths came under fire from the ACCC for having no evidence to substantiate their ‘W Select eco’ picnic product’s biodegradability and compostability claims, and were fined accordingly.

To ensure your business does not fall foul of the rules, CLICK HERE for the ACCC document that outlines all you need to know about Green Marketing & Australian Law.

If you are looking for sustainable promotional product ideas, or want to discuss you next branded merchandise campaign, give the team at INCK a call today!


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