Green and environmental marketing has exploded in the last year. A study conducted by TerraChoice of 12 large U.S. stores found more than 1,700 products boasting green credentials. Despite efforts by the Federal Trade Commission, green marketing claims are virtually going unchecked due in part to the commission’s lack of resources.
It’s imperative for companies not to “greenwash” and to be true to their brand and consumer promises. Those that market home products need to be mindful of this as well.
What exactly is “greenwashing”? It’s when companies, brands or products formulate ambiguous and oftentimes misleading claims about their environmental promise. The practice of greenwashing labels companies that promote a pro-environmental image without sound basis for the sake of increased sales and market share. Kmart, Tender and Dyna-E International were recently found guilty of this greenwashing.
Below are five reasons why not to greenwash.
1. It’s dishonest!
Ironically, companies that greenwash are trying to enhance their brand image. Marketing 101 – don’t attempt to fool your target audiences.
2. The marketing strategy will inevitably backfire and decrease sales and brand image.
Companies are devoting marketing dollars to include “green” corporate messaging and logos identifiable to the America public. What they’re doing will only temporarily mislead the American public and will have negative long-term effects.
3. Consumers will become aware that these companies don’t truly care about the environment.
Some companies spend more time boasting their products or services as “good for the environment” rather than spending those same resources on practices that actually are.
4. It will alienate eco-friendly consumers.
Many companies portray an “earthy” brand and product image, even though products may be filled with chemicals that are actually harmful to the environment.
5. It demonstrates disrespect for making the world a healthier place.
Greenwashing corporations portray themselves as environmentally conscious even though they are merely looking for an increase in sales. For the 60 percent of American consumers seeking green products and who actually care about the environment’s fate, this isn’t favorable brand positioning.
If truly interested in becoming a friend of the environment, funds should go toward research to actually create a product or service that’s beneficial to Mother Earth. Companies guilty of greenwashing should stop ‘talking the talk’ and start ‘walking the walk.’