Promoting your green credentials with integrity creates a true competitive advantage
Greenwashing: defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as the murky practice of “attempting to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it is”.
In the low carbon and environmental goods and services sector, “greenwashing” is the ultimate insult.
So how can you position your brand with integrity and use your bona fide credentials to grow ethically and sustainably?
Greenwashing covers three broad areas of concern:
You’re just chasing profit
Here the fear is that sustainable practices are superficial or a smokescreen for environmentally unfriendly behaviour in other parts of the business.
There’s a gap between your business and personal values
This fear is about assessing someone’s personal credentials. Is the CEO of this energy management firm someone who acts ethically and with integrity? Or are they chasing profit at any cost?
This company’s green products are just PR
Take some of the major banks who have launched highly successful sustainable investment funds, but are then criticised for having major investments in fossil fuels.
Promoting your bona fide green credentials
Addressing these concerns in your marketing enables you to connect with potential customers with integrity and authenticity.
It’s easy to take what you do for granted, but reflecting on this provides a rich source of stories that will connect with your audience’s deeper values.
Key areas to explore include:
- People: how does your company treat employees and contractors? How can you demonstrate that everyone from the CEO to your sales rep acts ethically and with integrity?
- Customers: how do you go above and beyond to meet people’s needs and provide a brilliant customer experience?
- Product: what are you doing to ensure a high-quality product that is fairly priced?
- Planet: you sell environmental goods and services. But what else are you doing towards a low carbon future?
Shout about the difference you’re making
Promoting your bona fide green credentials is about having the confidence to shout about the difference you are making.
When Sustainable Results Lab founder Ruth Smith was at the World Business Forum in June 2019, Professor Michael Porter, said:
The biggest movement in business right now is how can we contribute to society rather than taking away.
The global authority on competitive strategy is famous for his 2011 Harvard Business Review article on creating shared value – one of the magazine’s most popular downloads.
With the largest investors in the world demanding that companies make a social impact, the opportunities for low carbon and environmental businesses are huge.