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Graeme Murray, the little red sofa
Greenwashing:
too good to be true
Greenwashing:
sustainability and
marketing
© the little red sofa. 2023
© the little red sofa. 2023
CULTURAL
TRUTH
The evolving relationship between marketing and
sustainability
1970’s
The ‘ecological
marketing’ era
1980s
The ‘environmental
marketing’ age
Today
The ‘sustainability
marketing’ age
Focused on environmental problems
such as air pollution, pesticide use
and depleting oil reserves.
Focused on developing products
with superior socio-environmental
performance to market them to the
‘green consumer’ in search of
competitive advantage.
Currently seeks to integrate the
ecological and ethical concerns of
the green marketing era to create a
form of marketing that develops
long-term, sustainability-oriented
value relationships with customers.
(source: Belz and Peattie,
2012)
© the little red sofa. 2023
SUSTAINABILITY
What words or associations come to mind?
SUSTAINABILIT
Y
Energy
Global warming
Ecological
Future Emissions
Resources
Renewable
Carbon-neutral
Consumption
Urban planning
Green
World
Crisis
Eco-friendly
Economy
Transport
Planet
Production
Manufacturing
Law
Recycling
Inequality
Resources
Design
Buildings
Architecture
Health
Environmentalism
Conscious
Alternative
Materials
Innovation
Cost
Waste
Behaviour
Rethink
Reuse
Reduce
Responsibility
Creativity
Earth
Problem-solving
Education
Ethical
Environmental
Economy
Society
© the little red sofa. 2023
ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS WE HAVE IS THAT
THERE ARE SO MANY SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATIONS
OF WHAT CONSTITUTES SUSTAINABILITY
© the little red sofa. 2023
“The property of being environmentally sustainable;
the degree to which a process or enterprise is able to be maintained or continued
while avoiding the long-term depletion of natural resources.”
Sustainability: a definition
© the little red sofa. 2022
“We believe brands have a
responsibility to be both a
force for good and a force
for growth.”
Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G
© the little red sofa. 2022
“Sustainable enough is
not good enough.”
Greta Thunberg, Environmental Activist
© the little red sofa. 2023
Greta is not alone
of screened company websites contained claims that
were either exaggerated, false or deceptive according
to a European Commission report from 2021 and
could potentially qualify as unfair commercial
practices under EU rules.
© the little red sofa. 2023
Greta is not alone
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue recently analyzed new trends in climate
mis- and disinformation and found that:
• recognition of the climate crisis and the need for net zero transitions is steadily
increasing among the general public and lawmakers alike.
• this has spurred a similar surge in the multi-billion-dollar economy of corporate
greenwashing.
• this rise in greenwashing reflects a broader shift from climate denial to subtler forms
of ‘delayism’ and ‘inactivism’.
• there is a need to apply pressure on ad tech providers, advertising standards agencies,
financial regulators and other essential entities to play their role in tackling
disinformation and greenwashing at the systemic level.
(source: ‘Deny, Deceive, Delay (Vol 2)’, The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, 2023)
Ogilvy
Consulting
How brands choose to be a force for good is entirely up to
them
© the little red sofa. 2023
They often started with CSR
Corporate
Social
Responsibility
CS
R
Profi
t
Society Environment
CSR is commonly defined as a
business model in which
companies integrate social and
environmental concerns in their
business operations and
interactions with their
stakeholders instead of only
considering economic profits.
© the little red sofa. 2023
And there are now 2 additional acronyms
brands increasingly need to think about
CSR SDGs ESG
© the little red sofa. 2023
SDG or Sustainable Development Goals
SDGs are part of the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development, adopted by all United
Nations Member States in 2015.
According to the UN, "at its heart are the 17
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
designed to end poverty, fight inequality and
stop climate change."
© the little red sofa. 2023
ESG or Environmental Social Governance
Environmental
• Climate change
• Energy efficiency
• Water scarcity
• Pollution & waste
Social
• Gender & Diversity
• Human rights
• Labor standards
Governance
• Bribery & corruption
• Political contributions
• Executive compensation
ES
G
ESG is a rating system
companies use to measure
their environmental, social
and governance credentials.
ESG aims to encourage
businesses to improve their
ESG credentials to attract
investment from
shareholders, employees,
customers, suppliers and
the communities in which
they operate.
© the little red sofa. 2023
What’s the difference between SDGs and ESG?
ESG and SDGs work together to determine how a company can
achieve sustainable development and provide a roadmap for a
sustainable future.
ESG measures environmental, social and governance practices
within an organization.
By incorporating these sustainable development practices into daily
business operations and products and services, organizations can
achieve success using ESG factors which will eventually integrate
with SDGs.
© the little red sofa. 2023
The 5 stages of corporate sustainability
Random donations to
philanthropic events
Reflect personal interests
of leaders versus the ethos
of the brand
Not connected to the core
of the business
(source: ‘Embrace the journey – the 5 stages of corporate sustainability’, Otto Scharmer, MIT Lecturer, September 2018)
Driven by a CSR or
sustainability department
Limited exposure to
influence other business
departments
Limited presence, not
central to the brand’s core
Brands may align one of
their product lines to an
SDG
Still an abundance of
opportunity across the
entire portfolio to make
systematic change
Built end-to-end cultures of
sustainability
Outwardly make their
commitment through ESG
certifications
May feel tension between
profit and sustainability
efforts
Adopt a circular approach
to their operations
Become a purpose-driven
ecosystem
Brands operating here are
trailblazing the future for
brands to come
#1
One-off
projects
#2
Sustainability
as part of a
brand’s
initiatives
#3
Sustainability
drives business
innovation
#4
Sustainability
emerges in
culture
#5
Sustainable
ecosystem
Greenwashing:
sustainability in
action
© the little red sofa. 2023
© the little red sofa. 2023
“Many businesses talk
soothingly about corporate
social responsibility, impact and
social purpose, but very few
put these at the core of their
operations.”
Mariana Mazzucato, Economist
© the little red sofa. 2023
Patagonia – the grand-daddy of sustainability
A crusader for environmental protection since its origins.
Supporter of grassroots activists for 40 years.
In December 2018, they changed their mission – Patagonia is in
business to save our home planet.
They’ve acted on this mission day-to-day in innumerable ways:
(a) repair programs that enable customers to maintain their
Patagonia products for a longer life; (b) suing President Donald
Trump over protection of public land; (c) donating tax cut money
to grassroots environmental organizations; (d) constantly
seeking more earth-friendly materials to put into their products,
etc.
Greenwashing:
the rise of purpose
marketing
© the little red sofa. 2023
© the little red sofa. 2023
Brands are jumping on to the cultural bandwagon
#blacklivesmatter
movement
Environmental
& green issues
#metoo movement
They have profits to protect but see there is money to be made in being socially responsible.
Brands are increasingly asking themselves: how can we be meaningful, effective and impact change?
© the little red sofa. 2023
Alex Weller, Marketing Director,
Patagonia
Greenwashing:
the rise of
greenwashing
© the little red sofa. 2023
© the little red sofa. 2023
Take a look at this product packaging
How do you feel about this product?
What things might attract you or put you off buying this?
Would you ever buy this product?
© the little red sofa. 2023
Note heavy use
of ‘eco’ green colour
Use of leaf visual in the letter ‘o’
evolve = better, improved, enhanced
How can they credibly
claim this?
Made to make you feel
less guilty but dubious claim
Actual product hard to spot
It’s clearly
trying to
be green
New and more
expensive than
the standard
product
© the little red sofa. 2023
But it’s really greenwashing in action
Ziploc is using the ‘lesser of two evils’ trick to make the brand look greener
than it is.
It focuses on one point of the product to make it look eco-friendly within its
category and distract consumers from the overall damage that this particular
product can cause.
The product is still harmful to the environment, just not as harmful as it
used to be.
© the little red sofa. 2023
"Disinformation disseminated by an organization, etc., so as to present an
environmentally responsible public image;
a public image of environmental responsibility promulgated by or for an
organization, etc., but perceived as being unfounded or intentionally misleading."
Greenwashing: a definition
© the little red sofa. 2023
The 7 deadly sins of greenwashing
#1
No proof
#2 Irrelevant
claims
#3
Fibbing
#4 False
labels
#5
Vagueness
#6 Lesser of
two evils
#7 Hidden
trade-offs
Not having accessible evidence
of their environmental impact
Using labels that are
ambiguous and poorly
defined
Marketing facts that aren’t
true
Using labels that are
insignificant to whether it
is eco-friendly
Comparing products to be
greener when they are all
non eco-friendly
Advertising only a small set
of attributes and not the
whole picture
Creating fake certification
labels or endorsements from
a third-party
Greenwashing:
in action in B2C
marketing
© the little red sofa. 2023
The greenwashing hall of shame
Herbal Essences bio:renew – super vague and
lacks any real definition
Organix shampoos – only 1 of 18
ingredients is actually certified organic
Tide Purclean – full of distracting
graphics, fancy words and
unsubstantiated claims
Whilst a baby may welcome the use of
organic cotton, the problem of nappies and
landfill still persists
It might be made with a Stevia sugar
blend but it’s still a Coke
VW bragging about its green-ness rather
than being more environmentally-friendly
The greenwashing hall of shame
Green is good, despite being plastic for
one-off usage?
Is it true? Turns out it’s all
made up
Fiji Water – sources its water from Fijian springs,
while 12% of Fijians don’t have access to
running water
McDonald’s painting itself green – using
biofuels but it is still a business based on
disposable packaging
H&M – In 2021 a whopping 96% of their claims
did not hold up (source: the Changing Markets
Foundation)
Shell asked the public what are the best ways to reduce
emissions – despite being responsible for 1-2% of
global CO2 emissions
Greenwashing:
in action in B2B
marketing
© the little red sofa. 2023
© the little red sofa. 2023
Greenwashing or not – you decide
Pictures morph
with green trees
Big bold claim
(unsubstantiated)
Subtle use
of green
Sweco is Europe’s leading architecture and engineering consultancy company
© the little red sofa. 2023
Greenwashing or not – you decide
Suggestive green imagery:
trees, plants and grass
Vague
langauge
Bold
proclamations
(no proof)
© the little red sofa. 2023
Greenwashing or not – you decide
How is this related
to sustainability?
How is 10% comparable with
other years?
Just because you’ve done training
doesn’t mean you’ll act ethically
Greenwashing:
the effects of
greenwashing
© the little red sofa. 2023
© the little red sofa. 2023
If you think greenwashing is
okay as everyone seems to
be doing it, think again…
© the little red sofa. 2023
On
society
Consumers won’t trust greenwashing
claims in the future
Regulators will be forced to impose new
laws and restrictions
Progress towards real sustainability will be
impaired
The disastrous impact of greenwashing
On
businesses
Green business is booming and is
profitable
Greenwashing is the tempting ‘fix’ to a
favourable public image and higher
profit margins
Greenwashing is unethical deception –
using it to solicit trust and make more
money is condemnable and deplorable
Greenwashing brands can face legal
actions, lose trust, loss of sales, and
reputational damage
On the
environment
Many consumers are unwillingly buying
products that are polluting
Think pollution, destruction of
ecosystems, waste, hazardous
chemicals, greenhouse gas emissions,
factory worker deaths, loss of
rainforests and animal habitats.
Big fossil fuel companies aren't the
only culprits – greenwashing brands
can be found in nearly all categories
© the little red sofa. 2023
The rise of greenwashing has also led to
the rise of ‘greenhushing’.
Greenwashing silences those businesses
that are actively making positive change
and implementing sustainable practices -
resulting in less education and awareness
being spread on the positive impacts
these companies may be making.
© the little red sofa. 2023
No one
wins(not even your conscience)
Greenwashing
:
final thoughts
© the little red sofa. 2023
© the little red sofa. 2023
Best advice: DON’T GREENWASH AT ALL
Don’t lie
Be transparent
and specific
Skip vague
buzzwords
and fluff
Avoid
irrelevant
claims
Don’t use
suggestive
imagery or
colours
Get real
endorsements
Make your
marketing
proportional to
the effort you
are making
© the little red sofa. 2023
5 tips to get sustainable messaging right
#1 Be
authentic
#2
Understand
your
audience
#3 Be
constructive
#4 Get
emotion right
#5 Be
relatable
Be true to your brand and where it stands
on sustainability
It is essential to understand people’s
attitudes to tackle the barriers to
sustainable behaviour
Show how the brand can help people
make a difference
Leave people feeling hopeful and
confident, and empower them to change
Make serious messaging accessible and
relatable with the right tone
(source: Kantar)
© the little red sofa. 2023
People increasingly see large companies as having a
responsibility to the planet and society.
Sustainability isn’t a trend companies can simply
side-step or ignore.
Sooner or later, whether through government
regulation or public outcry, companies will need to
respond.
A shift is happening
© the little red sofa. 2023
A shift in business mindset must follow too
”There is one and only social purpose of
business - to use its resources and
engage in activities designed to increase
its profits.”
Alan Friedman, economist, 1970
“The purpose of business is to produce
profitable solutions for the problems of
people and planet, not profiting from
producing problems for either.”
Professor Colin Mayer together with the
British Academy Future of the
Corporation progamme, 2020
This long remained mantra for doing business
has remained unchallenged only until recently
© the little red sofa. 2023
Adopting a sustainability mindset:
• Being responsible for everything you do
• Understanding the causes and consequences of your actions (short and long-term)
• Active participation in promoting sustainable development
• Collaboration and building partnerships
• Sense of respect and responsibility for life and diversity
Companies must embed sustainability into everything they do
© the little red sofa. 2023
Ryan Geller, CEO,
Patagonia
© the little red sofa. 2023
Companies that proactively take on
sustainability challenges, and win, will wield
more political and cultural influence than
ever.
Consumers will reward those brands that
practise honest sustainability and keep them,
their families and the world safe.
If that happens, then one day there might not
even be a need for greenwashing.
Tackle the problem today, get rewarded tomorrow
Graeme Murray, the little red sofa
graeme@thelittleredsofa.com
16th
February 2023
Greenwashing:
too good to be true

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Brand Restart 2023: Graeme Murray - Greenwashing - too good to be true?

  • 1. Graeme Murray, the little red sofa Greenwashing: too good to be true
  • 3. © the little red sofa. 2023 CULTURAL TRUTH The evolving relationship between marketing and sustainability 1970’s The ‘ecological marketing’ era 1980s The ‘environmental marketing’ age Today The ‘sustainability marketing’ age Focused on environmental problems such as air pollution, pesticide use and depleting oil reserves. Focused on developing products with superior socio-environmental performance to market them to the ‘green consumer’ in search of competitive advantage. Currently seeks to integrate the ecological and ethical concerns of the green marketing era to create a form of marketing that develops long-term, sustainability-oriented value relationships with customers. (source: Belz and Peattie, 2012)
  • 4. © the little red sofa. 2023 SUSTAINABILITY What words or associations come to mind?
  • 5. SUSTAINABILIT Y Energy Global warming Ecological Future Emissions Resources Renewable Carbon-neutral Consumption Urban planning Green World Crisis Eco-friendly Economy Transport Planet Production Manufacturing Law Recycling Inequality Resources Design Buildings Architecture Health Environmentalism Conscious Alternative Materials Innovation Cost Waste Behaviour Rethink Reuse Reduce Responsibility Creativity Earth Problem-solving Education Ethical Environmental Economy Society © the little red sofa. 2023 ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS WE HAVE IS THAT THERE ARE SO MANY SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATIONS OF WHAT CONSTITUTES SUSTAINABILITY
  • 6. © the little red sofa. 2023 “The property of being environmentally sustainable; the degree to which a process or enterprise is able to be maintained or continued while avoiding the long-term depletion of natural resources.” Sustainability: a definition
  • 7. © the little red sofa. 2022 “We believe brands have a responsibility to be both a force for good and a force for growth.” Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G
  • 8. © the little red sofa. 2022 “Sustainable enough is not good enough.” Greta Thunberg, Environmental Activist
  • 9. © the little red sofa. 2023 Greta is not alone of screened company websites contained claims that were either exaggerated, false or deceptive according to a European Commission report from 2021 and could potentially qualify as unfair commercial practices under EU rules.
  • 10. © the little red sofa. 2023 Greta is not alone The Institute for Strategic Dialogue recently analyzed new trends in climate mis- and disinformation and found that: • recognition of the climate crisis and the need for net zero transitions is steadily increasing among the general public and lawmakers alike. • this has spurred a similar surge in the multi-billion-dollar economy of corporate greenwashing. • this rise in greenwashing reflects a broader shift from climate denial to subtler forms of ‘delayism’ and ‘inactivism’. • there is a need to apply pressure on ad tech providers, advertising standards agencies, financial regulators and other essential entities to play their role in tackling disinformation and greenwashing at the systemic level. (source: ‘Deny, Deceive, Delay (Vol 2)’, The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, 2023)
  • 11. Ogilvy Consulting How brands choose to be a force for good is entirely up to them
  • 12. © the little red sofa. 2023 They often started with CSR Corporate Social Responsibility CS R Profi t Society Environment CSR is commonly defined as a business model in which companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders instead of only considering economic profits.
  • 13. © the little red sofa. 2023 And there are now 2 additional acronyms brands increasingly need to think about CSR SDGs ESG
  • 14. © the little red sofa. 2023 SDG or Sustainable Development Goals SDGs are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. According to the UN, "at its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change."
  • 15. © the little red sofa. 2023 ESG or Environmental Social Governance Environmental • Climate change • Energy efficiency • Water scarcity • Pollution & waste Social • Gender & Diversity • Human rights • Labor standards Governance • Bribery & corruption • Political contributions • Executive compensation ES G ESG is a rating system companies use to measure their environmental, social and governance credentials. ESG aims to encourage businesses to improve their ESG credentials to attract investment from shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers and the communities in which they operate.
  • 16. © the little red sofa. 2023 What’s the difference between SDGs and ESG? ESG and SDGs work together to determine how a company can achieve sustainable development and provide a roadmap for a sustainable future. ESG measures environmental, social and governance practices within an organization. By incorporating these sustainable development practices into daily business operations and products and services, organizations can achieve success using ESG factors which will eventually integrate with SDGs.
  • 17. © the little red sofa. 2023 The 5 stages of corporate sustainability Random donations to philanthropic events Reflect personal interests of leaders versus the ethos of the brand Not connected to the core of the business (source: ‘Embrace the journey – the 5 stages of corporate sustainability’, Otto Scharmer, MIT Lecturer, September 2018) Driven by a CSR or sustainability department Limited exposure to influence other business departments Limited presence, not central to the brand’s core Brands may align one of their product lines to an SDG Still an abundance of opportunity across the entire portfolio to make systematic change Built end-to-end cultures of sustainability Outwardly make their commitment through ESG certifications May feel tension between profit and sustainability efforts Adopt a circular approach to their operations Become a purpose-driven ecosystem Brands operating here are trailblazing the future for brands to come #1 One-off projects #2 Sustainability as part of a brand’s initiatives #3 Sustainability drives business innovation #4 Sustainability emerges in culture #5 Sustainable ecosystem
  • 19. © the little red sofa. 2023 “Many businesses talk soothingly about corporate social responsibility, impact and social purpose, but very few put these at the core of their operations.” Mariana Mazzucato, Economist
  • 20. © the little red sofa. 2023 Patagonia – the grand-daddy of sustainability A crusader for environmental protection since its origins. Supporter of grassroots activists for 40 years. In December 2018, they changed their mission – Patagonia is in business to save our home planet. They’ve acted on this mission day-to-day in innumerable ways: (a) repair programs that enable customers to maintain their Patagonia products for a longer life; (b) suing President Donald Trump over protection of public land; (c) donating tax cut money to grassroots environmental organizations; (d) constantly seeking more earth-friendly materials to put into their products, etc.
  • 21. Greenwashing: the rise of purpose marketing © the little red sofa. 2023
  • 22. © the little red sofa. 2023 Brands are jumping on to the cultural bandwagon #blacklivesmatter movement Environmental & green issues #metoo movement They have profits to protect but see there is money to be made in being socially responsible. Brands are increasingly asking themselves: how can we be meaningful, effective and impact change?
  • 23. © the little red sofa. 2023 Alex Weller, Marketing Director, Patagonia
  • 24. Greenwashing: the rise of greenwashing © the little red sofa. 2023
  • 25. © the little red sofa. 2023 Take a look at this product packaging How do you feel about this product? What things might attract you or put you off buying this? Would you ever buy this product?
  • 26. © the little red sofa. 2023 Note heavy use of ‘eco’ green colour Use of leaf visual in the letter ‘o’ evolve = better, improved, enhanced How can they credibly claim this? Made to make you feel less guilty but dubious claim Actual product hard to spot It’s clearly trying to be green New and more expensive than the standard product
  • 27. © the little red sofa. 2023 But it’s really greenwashing in action Ziploc is using the ‘lesser of two evils’ trick to make the brand look greener than it is. It focuses on one point of the product to make it look eco-friendly within its category and distract consumers from the overall damage that this particular product can cause. The product is still harmful to the environment, just not as harmful as it used to be.
  • 28. © the little red sofa. 2023 "Disinformation disseminated by an organization, etc., so as to present an environmentally responsible public image; a public image of environmental responsibility promulgated by or for an organization, etc., but perceived as being unfounded or intentionally misleading." Greenwashing: a definition
  • 29. © the little red sofa. 2023 The 7 deadly sins of greenwashing #1 No proof #2 Irrelevant claims #3 Fibbing #4 False labels #5 Vagueness #6 Lesser of two evils #7 Hidden trade-offs Not having accessible evidence of their environmental impact Using labels that are ambiguous and poorly defined Marketing facts that aren’t true Using labels that are insignificant to whether it is eco-friendly Comparing products to be greener when they are all non eco-friendly Advertising only a small set of attributes and not the whole picture Creating fake certification labels or endorsements from a third-party
  • 30. Greenwashing: in action in B2C marketing © the little red sofa. 2023
  • 31. The greenwashing hall of shame Herbal Essences bio:renew – super vague and lacks any real definition Organix shampoos – only 1 of 18 ingredients is actually certified organic Tide Purclean – full of distracting graphics, fancy words and unsubstantiated claims Whilst a baby may welcome the use of organic cotton, the problem of nappies and landfill still persists It might be made with a Stevia sugar blend but it’s still a Coke VW bragging about its green-ness rather than being more environmentally-friendly
  • 32. The greenwashing hall of shame Green is good, despite being plastic for one-off usage? Is it true? Turns out it’s all made up Fiji Water – sources its water from Fijian springs, while 12% of Fijians don’t have access to running water McDonald’s painting itself green – using biofuels but it is still a business based on disposable packaging H&M – In 2021 a whopping 96% of their claims did not hold up (source: the Changing Markets Foundation) Shell asked the public what are the best ways to reduce emissions – despite being responsible for 1-2% of global CO2 emissions
  • 33. Greenwashing: in action in B2B marketing © the little red sofa. 2023
  • 34. © the little red sofa. 2023 Greenwashing or not – you decide Pictures morph with green trees Big bold claim (unsubstantiated) Subtle use of green Sweco is Europe’s leading architecture and engineering consultancy company
  • 35. © the little red sofa. 2023 Greenwashing or not – you decide Suggestive green imagery: trees, plants and grass Vague langauge Bold proclamations (no proof)
  • 36. © the little red sofa. 2023 Greenwashing or not – you decide How is this related to sustainability? How is 10% comparable with other years? Just because you’ve done training doesn’t mean you’ll act ethically
  • 37. Greenwashing: the effects of greenwashing © the little red sofa. 2023
  • 38. © the little red sofa. 2023 If you think greenwashing is okay as everyone seems to be doing it, think again…
  • 39. © the little red sofa. 2023 On society Consumers won’t trust greenwashing claims in the future Regulators will be forced to impose new laws and restrictions Progress towards real sustainability will be impaired The disastrous impact of greenwashing On businesses Green business is booming and is profitable Greenwashing is the tempting ‘fix’ to a favourable public image and higher profit margins Greenwashing is unethical deception – using it to solicit trust and make more money is condemnable and deplorable Greenwashing brands can face legal actions, lose trust, loss of sales, and reputational damage On the environment Many consumers are unwillingly buying products that are polluting Think pollution, destruction of ecosystems, waste, hazardous chemicals, greenhouse gas emissions, factory worker deaths, loss of rainforests and animal habitats. Big fossil fuel companies aren't the only culprits – greenwashing brands can be found in nearly all categories
  • 40. © the little red sofa. 2023 The rise of greenwashing has also led to the rise of ‘greenhushing’. Greenwashing silences those businesses that are actively making positive change and implementing sustainable practices - resulting in less education and awareness being spread on the positive impacts these companies may be making.
  • 41. © the little red sofa. 2023 No one wins(not even your conscience)
  • 42. Greenwashing : final thoughts © the little red sofa. 2023
  • 43. © the little red sofa. 2023 Best advice: DON’T GREENWASH AT ALL Don’t lie Be transparent and specific Skip vague buzzwords and fluff Avoid irrelevant claims Don’t use suggestive imagery or colours Get real endorsements Make your marketing proportional to the effort you are making
  • 44. © the little red sofa. 2023 5 tips to get sustainable messaging right #1 Be authentic #2 Understand your audience #3 Be constructive #4 Get emotion right #5 Be relatable Be true to your brand and where it stands on sustainability It is essential to understand people’s attitudes to tackle the barriers to sustainable behaviour Show how the brand can help people make a difference Leave people feeling hopeful and confident, and empower them to change Make serious messaging accessible and relatable with the right tone (source: Kantar)
  • 45. © the little red sofa. 2023 People increasingly see large companies as having a responsibility to the planet and society. Sustainability isn’t a trend companies can simply side-step or ignore. Sooner or later, whether through government regulation or public outcry, companies will need to respond. A shift is happening
  • 46. © the little red sofa. 2023 A shift in business mindset must follow too ”There is one and only social purpose of business - to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.” Alan Friedman, economist, 1970 “The purpose of business is to produce profitable solutions for the problems of people and planet, not profiting from producing problems for either.” Professor Colin Mayer together with the British Academy Future of the Corporation progamme, 2020 This long remained mantra for doing business has remained unchallenged only until recently
  • 47. © the little red sofa. 2023 Adopting a sustainability mindset: • Being responsible for everything you do • Understanding the causes and consequences of your actions (short and long-term) • Active participation in promoting sustainable development • Collaboration and building partnerships • Sense of respect and responsibility for life and diversity Companies must embed sustainability into everything they do
  • 48. © the little red sofa. 2023 Ryan Geller, CEO, Patagonia
  • 49. © the little red sofa. 2023 Companies that proactively take on sustainability challenges, and win, will wield more political and cultural influence than ever. Consumers will reward those brands that practise honest sustainability and keep them, their families and the world safe. If that happens, then one day there might not even be a need for greenwashing. Tackle the problem today, get rewarded tomorrow
  • 50. Graeme Murray, the little red sofa graeme@thelittleredsofa.com 16th February 2023 Greenwashing: too good to be true