The climate crisis is a topic hotter than global warming, and people are becoming increasingly aware of how poor decisions made by certain brands are affecting our beautiful planet. Many brands have jumped on the green bandwagon, making unsubstantiated claims (known as greenwashing) to boost sales by playing on people’s genuine feelings of good-conscience buying. Empty promises from brands are irking the general public, almost more than those empty plastic bottles at this point.
After multiple claims are made in the direction of betterment without some evident action, a brand will naturally begin breeding distrust from their consumers, as well as action from eco-warriors who are paying attention.
Beverage company, Innocent, initially built brand equity on it’s non-corporate innocence (hence the name) but had consumers and climate activists raising their eyebrows in 2009 when the company sold shares to Coca-Cola (who has been questioned about their own sustainability “efforts” and dubbed the world’s leading plastic waste producer). Quite the contradiction of the “innocence” of Innocent.
After showcasing an advertising campaign with the main focus around “fixing up the planet”, Extinction Rebellion, a climate crisis advocacy group, jumped on Innocent’s claims and staged multiple peaceful protests to get the brand to take down the false advert. The protests highlighted the practice of greenwashing. The Advertising Standards Authority confirmed that they received complaints about how the campaign was misleading, and is still considering taking further action. Innocent has yet to provide protesters with an adequate response.
Some brands fall into this trap accidentally and unknowingly. We doubt that Innocent purposefully created this campaign to piss people off. Unfortunately, though, your brand should reflect consistency, and not TELL people how to make better decisions, but rather BE the better decision. Action has always been louder than words, and a singing otter won’t cover up the branded remnants of evident pollution in over 51 countries.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi
Has your brand been guilty of knowingly or unknowingly greenwashing? Can you think of a brand who does this regularly? Tell us about it in the comments.