Around 61% of UK consumers consider themselves conscious consumers, who are either concerned or very concerned about their consumption choices. For this reason, many businesses are “going green”, but how accurate and responsible are the claims? Greenwashing is a problem, but conscious consumers are starting to see the reality, causing it to backfire.
Greenwashing undermines the brand
Making bold claims about green credentials, such as materials and supply chains, might shift a few units in the short term, but when the business is found out, there is a backlash that can seriously damage the brand's image affecting sales and even the future of the business overall.
There is a growing desire amongst consumers to buy sustainable products, so if someone finds out that a product has been mis-sold, they will abandon the brand; not only that, they will leave negative customer reviews online and share the negative customer experience on social media.
Conscious consumers support genuine Net Zero progress
Consumers are more and more ecologically minded, which is good news for the 2050 Net Zero targets; it’s not such good news for businesses and brands who might cringe at the expense of going greener. Still, with nine out of ten consumers on board, it could be worth the investment.
Capitalism primarily values profits which is why businesses are tempted to cut corners with sustainability in a process called greenwashing. But conscious consumers are not blind to this and will quickly abandon a business that claims to be green in the interests of greater profits.
The business spreads misinformation
The effects of greenwashing on a business go beyond the sales figures; it can also lead to legal issues when a false advert is reported to the relevant consumer protection authority. In this case, an investigation will be launched to determine whether the business advert is legitimate.
An investigation like this might lead to positive outcomes; the authority might determine that the business advert conforms to standards and accuracy claims, but that is unlikely to remain in the minds of conscious consumers who only remember the business was strung for greenwashing.
The business can struggle to find investment
When a business greenwashes, it does not only affect itself; it also affects partner businesses and investors. Businesses and investors may not wish to engage with a business that greenwashes attempting to protect its own reputation, so partners and investors can pull out.
Not only can a business lose investment thanks to greenwashing, but it can also struggle to find new partners. Investors and businesses are affected by brand affiliation - in the same way as conscious consumers - meaning a damaged business can find it hard to rebuild its reputation.
Greenwashing isn’t needed - find out why!
The capitalistic mindset values profit over people, but making a business more sustainable is now in the best interests of a business. Due to greenwashing, truly sustainable brands are enjoying better growth making it more sensible to transform business protocol. Find out more about making your business more sustainable, profitable, and protecting it for years to come.
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which have been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.