68% of CEOs admit their businesses are guilty of greenwashing...

68% of CEOs admit their businesses are guilty of greenwashing...

Another week in sustainability has passed. It’s time for your weekly digest of information and news from the Greenifs newsletter! 🗞️

📈Let's continue exploring Greenwashing - the phenomenon that is used to market how sustainable something is, without actually investing time and effort to make it sustainable. In this week's newsletter we'd like to present the interesting statistics of this phenomenon and show you just how widespread it is.

Not only corporations

The very first thing to realise is that greenwashing is used everywhere. In politics, in marketing of goods, products, services and even cities. Singapore, even calling itself "City in a garden" is widely positioning itself as the greenest city in the world. In reality, however, according to Global forest watch it has lost 95% of its ancient forest. 15% have been cut down since green initiatives have become a calling card for the city. Because of stories like this illegal clearing of old growth in Khanji make it clear the sustainable image of the city can be labelled as greenwashing. 😭

How much sustainable marketing is actually greenwashing?

68% of US executives admit their companies are guilty of greenwashing. And two-thirds of executives globally questioned whether their company’s sustainability efforts were genuine. 59% of green claims made by European and UK fashion brands are misleading. 🚧

In 40% of cases the sustainability marketing had absolutely no supporting evidence for the claims it was making and in further 19%, the research cited was inconclusive, inaccessible, or lacking scientific proof. 🧪

Ecolabels were created to help consumers find products that are actually sustainable. However, due to lacking regulation and the abundance of them (nearly 500 in the USA alone), research by the The Guardian found that the vast majority lack any credible evidence to support their green claims. ❌

How it affects finances?

A study was conducted by Harvard University Business review, looking how a disconnect between stated goals and their implementation affected customer satisfaction levels. The researchers estimated that companies that are perceived to be greenwashing suffer, on average, a 1.34% drop in their ACSI customer satisfaction score. In an intensely competitive market, this can mean a lot. This study only took into account company information between 2008 and 2016. In the contemporary eco-conscious consumer market, this drop is likely to be much higher. 🏔️

Not all greenwashing is created equal.

Greenpeace created a guide in which they judge, how dangerous, or misleading the greenwashing claims are. It analysed the number of sustainability related posts in company marketing campaigns.

The most polluting industries that continue investing the major share of their profits in internal combustion fuel are:

  • The oil and gas industry
  • The automobile industry
  • The airline industry

All of them prominently placed sustainability and innovation at the forefront of their campaigns.

The ratio of ‘green-to-dirty’ posts in each industry’s public communications (3-to-1, 4-to-1, and 1.2-to-1, respectively) misrepresents their contemporary commitments to decarbonization.

This implies that at least some of their social media content constitutes as greenwashing. However, the greenwashing of the automobile and oil and gas industry was rated as considerably more deceptive.

What can you do to prevent greenwashing?

The biggest step all companies can do to prevent greenwashing is to of course actually invest in minimizing your carbon footprint. However, in today's market it is also important to double check, if the material you put out cannot be interpreted as greenwashing.

As we've proven in this newsletter, the failure to do so can have great impact on your customer satisfaction and trust index. It is easy to double check your marketing texts with https://www.greenifs.ai - the go to AI powered tool to make sure you post greenwash free material.