We live in a society that is becoming more aware of the environment every day, a society in which curbing the consequences of climate change has become a priority. This situation makes many people avoid buying products from companies that harm our environment and our health, which is why companies seek communication strategies and different formulas to convey their values and their corporate social responsibility with the environment to the audience.
Many times, these formulas are only communicative and have nothing to do with the real practices of companies, which continue to produce products that pollute or do not respect the environment. This practice is known as Greenwashing .
Throughout the article we invite you to discover everything about this sales strategy: what it is, how it works, why it is better to avoid it, and some examples.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a marketing practice or strategy used by some companies, which consists of showing the audience that they are respectful of the environment when presenting their products or services. This strategy, after all, is a deception because, deep down, neither the processes are respectful of the environment, nor are the products or services offered to their public.
It is just a way of selling the public a ‘false’ corporate social responsibility that is never seen in the company’s policies or culture.
How Greenwashing Works
In order for you to know how it works, it is essential that you know the main ways of carrying out this marketing strategy:
‘ Green ‘ marketing is the type of marketing that uses the color green to convey commitment to the environment to the audience. It is the way that many businesses and companies have to connect with their most responsible public with the environment. However, on many occasions, the use of the color green does not correspond to changes in company policies or culture, they only rely on said color and images of natural environments to imply that they are respectful of the environment around us.
attack the subconscious
They attack the subconscious with marketing strategies in which they show ecofriendly products, appropriating an image that does not correspond to reality, since they do not normally use sustainable production methods. This way of carrying out Greenwashing is closely related to “green” marketing, since with the use of this color and elements of nature, the company tries to attack the subconscious of consumers by making them believe that certain corporate values prevail in the company. sustainability.
They highlight supposedly valuable innovations for the care of the environment. However, these innovations represent a very small and almost insignificant part of caring for the environment. For example: while they carry out polluting production processes, or do not recycle, they publish ecological magazines, or advertisements, etc.
Fulfilling legal requirements
Currently there are many regulations that force companies to comply with certain laws that protect the environment. These companies may advertise themselves as green, however all they are doing is complying with current legislation.
Yes, some companies distort results and even lie about their environmental policies, in some cases using seals as if they were certified in something that they are not.
Why should you avoid Greenwashing?
Lies always end up coming to light. Greenwashing is a practice in which people lie or tell a half truth to attract potential customers , and this can be discovered in the long term and damage the company’s image. Therefore, it is best that you do not use this strategy and only show yourself as an ecologically responsible company if you really are.
Today being a green company is an advantage over the competition. However, to be so, it is necessary for the entire company to assume long-term commitments and to show themselves as they are, and that is… shortcuts such as Greenwashing can only make your profits diminish!
Examples of Greenwashing
Below, we detail some examples of Greenwashing , examples of misleading advertising in Spain and other countries:
McDonalds is an example of a fast food company that has made a 360-degree turn in recent years, attempting to wash its image, painting the facades of many of its restaurants green, and even teaching the audience that its procedures are sustainable. However, this image that they try to project does not correspond to reality, because these improvements are not perceived in the separation of waste in the company, and even the food transport chains are so long that in many cases they require the use of chemicals. and other components that a truly ecofriendly company would never use.
Coca cola is another of the big companies that can serve as an example of Greenwashing. The famous beverage company, with the aim of attracting the most eco-friendly public, launched a product in which it replaces sugar with stevia, a product that is sold in green Coca Cola bottles, and in which the advertising is accompanied by natural elements that gave the brand a more eco-friendly image.
Does this mean that Coca Cola is a sustainable company? The truth is that no. And it is that, despite the fact that the bottles of the well-known product ‘Coca Cola Life’, is a recyclable bottle made up of 30% vegetable fiber, is it a sufficient sign of Coca Cola’s commitment to the environment? The truth is that it is not, despite the fact that green Coca Cola does represent a radical change in attitude in the brand that, of course, is capable of tricking the most conscientious consumers into continuing to buy their products.
The great company Endesa collaborated in COP25, and even today, 40% of Endesa’s park is sustainable. However, its investments to carry out an ecological transition are, for many, actions of distraction, since the company is the most polluting company in our entire country due to the thousands of tons of carbon dioxide it emits in Spain. To give you an idea, about 23% of the country’s industrial emissions come from Endesa. Without a doubt, another example of Greenwash!
Apple is a good example of Greenwashing. The company is green on the outside, but is it green on the inside? The truth is that for some years now, the American company has been committed to the sustainability of its buildings, using renewable energies in many of them. It even bets on the recycling of some mobiles. However, is it really a company that is committed to sustainability? We ask ourselves this question because their mobiles contain coltan (that black metallic mineral) from Africa and because their mobiles are produced so that they become obsolete after several years. So is that sustainability?
The BP logo, its name, in general, the change in its corporate identity , is an example of Greenwashing . In this case, the famous oil and natural gas company contributed by rebranding to capture the attention of its audience.
Many companies opt for these ‘green’ marketing strategies that, as we mentioned before, seek to convey that they are ecological companies, that they sell ecological products and services and that caring for the environment is part of their company culture and philosophy.
The Nestlé company received a complaint alleging that coffee beans are not sustainable, that the production of the company’s multitude of products contributes to the great deforestation that is taking place in West Africa and even that some products such as cocoa he comes from farms where child labor is the order of the day.
In addition, the company currently only recycles 25% of the capsules worldwide, despite the fact that in 2017 they explained their recycling process and even made a change in their communication strategy by showing advertisements in which they tried to convey social sensitivity. corporate. Are they really sustainable or do they just use propaganda to camouflage their irresponsibility towards the environment when producing the products?
From Investing Press we hope that this article will help you differentiate between an ecologically responsible company and a company that only performs Greenwashing and, above all, to get rid of the idea of carrying out a strategy based on deception.