Ways to avoid greenwashing in marketing

Greenwashing can damage the reputation of a business and can erode the confidence of a consumer. To avoid greenwashing, the first thing a business has to do is to ensure that it will cause no harm to its consumers. It should stay true to its environmental claims to benefit from customer perception. Greenwashing is exploiting people’s interest to attract their attention while the company that makes environmental claims does very little to do anything helpful for the environment. Given below are ways by which a company can avoid the pitfalls of greenwashing.

Let suppliers play a role – Often businesses overlook the fact  that having a clear understanding of how suppliers impact the environment is important. Some businesses do not know much about their suppliers , let alone about their environmental performance. Sometimes firms create higher emissions through their supply chains than through their products and services directly. Supply chain disruptions can also have long-term effects on stock prices. Measuring supply-chain emissions should be made a necessity. According to a recent study, firms which reduced supply-chain greenhouse-gas emissions were not only more efficient but they also performed better financially.

Do not follow a trend blindly – A company might get carried away and follow trends blindly. It is important to analyze a trend and be well-informed about it. The sustainability strategy of a company should maintain its core principles. It is important to go piggybacking on a trend that fits the sustainability strategy of a company. It has to be kept in mind that trends change often.

Use simple messages – If a message about the sustainability concerns of an organization is made simple it might be easily understood by the target audience. It is difficult for customers to assess the environmental impact of products. Information about it can be complex. The issues involved are as different as air quality, climate change, and water usage. Such issues also involve figures that may be difficult to understand. Information given to customers need to be translated into easily understood messages. The challenge is to communicate complex calculations of environmental issues simply.

Choose the right labels – Firms can demonstrate the environmental claims of products with the use of eco-labels. Eco-labels identify products that have proved to be environmentally preferable. Eco-labels give  a product legitimacy especially when they are third-party certified. Customers should not only try to understand what an eco-label is trying to communicate but must also be aware of it. For instance, Tripadvisor had developed a label program called Green Leaders which informed travelers about hotels that participated in the program , throughout its website. Companies should also use labels that are endorsed by governments and large retailers. For instance, the label Energy Star is in demand. It works with state and local governments to ensure that agencies install compliant products in their offices. If the eco-labels used are credible, it can increase consumer confidence and also their willingness to purchase green products.

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