Greenwash Doesn't Wash
It would be naïve to think that sustainability has only been an issue in the last couple of years, when there has always been an awareness among consumers of a need to adapt to ecological issues.
“We need to move beyond guilt or blame, and get on with the practical tasks at hand,” David Attenborough.
With the voices of Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough being echoed more strongly in consumers, suppliers now need to understand that the public are now taking time to research their purchases and therefore casual references to sustainability are likely to highlight weaknesses in a brand ethos.
The ‘grab and go’ consumer relies heavily on visuals and packaging, (if it is being used) to make a conscious choice on what products they purchase. In some cases, the green looking packaging and branding can convey a good option, while the truth may be a very different scenario. This ‘Green Wash’ may be enough to satiate the initial conscience of a consumer, but it really does not give any true resolution to the problem of ecological and sustainable sourcing.
Bearing this in mind, it is important that companies take time to research support for their brand message. Whether this is looking at accreditation through such organisations like Green Mark, bluesign®, Leaf Marque etc., having a truly sustainable product negates the chances of loss of consumer confidence.
Not just product, but consumers continue to look at the process products are created and delivered. Palm Oil is an obvious example, with consumers aware of the manufacturing and growing stages that have a greater impact on the planet. This can be seen in how companies are now being challenged on packaging and where they source raw materials and end of product cycle credentials.
As consumer awareness continues to grow, so does the need for suppliers to really step away from the ‘Green Wash’ messages previously provided and now take time to truly support products and their message to the markets.