Mean It If You Green It
Today’s consumers demand to know more about the products they purchase, and many now prefer to buy from environmentally conscious brands. Nowadays companies are taking the green road by promoting their products and brand ethos as eco-friendly and sustainable. The trouble is that some brands are involved in greenwashing. What’s greenwashing? It’s providing misleading information about a company’s environmental initiatives.
“More and more consumers want brands who stand for their personal values,” said Christina Erb LoVullo, creative services director for Catapult Creative Labs. “But those loyal consumers can quickly ditch brands if they realize they’re are inaccurately representing their brand values.”
Erb LoVullo points to an outdoor brands that products feature “less plastic” or “no single-use plastic” phrases, but are shipped individually wrapped in polybags. “The way the product is shipped not only undercuts the brand’s pro-environment message, but worse makes the brand actually seem manipulative in the eyes of environmentally conscious consumers.”
While it is apparent in today’s world that brands need to embrace greener practices, the way in which they do so can make all the difference.
“Transparency and integrity are really what’s winning the marketplace,” said Erb LoVullo. “Brands should perform a self-audit to see what’s working and what’s not. Openly communicating their successes and areas for improvement can go a long way in instilling confidence in consumers.”
Erb LoVullo points to Patagonia as the clear leader within the outdoor industry. In 2019, it became the first brand to thoroughly audit its waste at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show from pallet shrink wrap to individual waste. The report showcased a number of problematic areas, which Patagonia transparently shared and is working on improving.
“That level of transparency is why Patagonia is considered an environmental leader,” she said.
Erb LoVullo says you don’t have to have Patagonia’s clout or bank account to drive real environmental change. “Even small companies can drive change within their communities,” she says.