“Greenwashing’, one of the newest and most complex challenges facing the communications industry today, was addressed by Diana Verde Nieto, CEO Clownfish.
Green has become a tempting way to engage consumers but regulatory bodies are rightly announcing crackdowns on firms which make misleading green claims. In the seminar Avoiding Greenwash: How To Align Your Communications With Sustainable Principles And Practice, Nieto discussed some of the pitfalls of greenwashing and gave examples of responsible business best practice from Fortune 500 brands, including an insight into policy and lobbying projects as well as the work of NGOs.
According to Nieto, greenwashing is when an advertiser uses green or natural images to position itself as more environmentally aware than it really is. She was firm on advocating that greenwashing should not become entrenched in brand advertising.
She was not shy to identify several companies engaged in using greenwashing to win over consumers. For instance, Cotton USA had to change its slogan from “Sustainable Cotton’ to “Renewable Cotton’ because as Nieto pointed out there is no such thing as sustainable cotton.
While sustainability had become a 21st century model, Nieto warned that it should not be approached as a single issue but rather on the basis of interconnectedness.
She warned that more and more consumers, watchdogs and NGOs are on the lookout for dishonest greenwashing. It was up to agencies to steer their clients in a good practice approach when developing campaigns.