Created any campaigns around sustainability initiatives lately?
You’re not alone. Responding to consumer pressure, executives are scrambling to prove their emphasis on sustainability. Chatting up a company’s green thumb is a major contributor to growth and impact, shifting everything from brand awareness to digital behaviors to recruitment, as Deloitte reports.
But is the sustainability marketing trend evidence of an authentic—and strategic—commitment to the planet or is it just glitzy branding? That is the question.
The UK’s Chartered Institute of Marketing just dropped an update of this year’s Sustainability Marketing Skills Gap report and, folks, it ain’t pretty. While the majority of consumers are clamoring to buy from brands that honestly articulate their environmental zeal, a whopping 40% of marketers lack the skills and know-how to effectively communicate their brand’s sustainability efforts.
With the demand for sustainability marketing dramatically outstripping a (qualified) supply, half of marketers are worried that they might be misleading consumers with greenwashing claims.
Example: Starbucks touting its new sippy lids as an environmentally friendlier alternative to straws—until it was revealed that the lids contain more plastic than the lid-straw combos they replaced. Not a cute look for the largest coffee company in the world. It’s not just Starbucks, either. Walmart, IKEA, and H&M are just a few of the major brands that have been accused of greenwashing.
The moral of the story:
- Don’t make shit up.
- Upskill your marketing team.
- Live up to your claims.