Companies are increasingly highlighting the ‘green’ nature of their products, but as consumers get more savvy and accusations of greenwashing more common, some are afraid to draw attention to their actions.
According to Suzanne Shelton from the Shelton Group, an advertising agency exclusively focused on the sustainability space, the key to successful communication is to provide detail, and not pretend to be perfect.
“My advice is simple: be honest and transparent with consumer, they don’t expect you to be flawless they just expect you to tell the truth,” she told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.
Spotlights behavior so honesty is key
She underlined that anyone in the green marketing space was indeed drawing attention to their actions and may put a spotlight on the negative as well as the positive.
However, this is only really dangerous if the company sets out to hide things and isn’t honest from the start.
“We are all fairly reasonable people, a company just needs to say this is what we are doing to today and this is what we want to do tomorrow,” she said, before adding that manufacturers run into trouble when they spin the message.
Shelton also highlighted detail as a positive tool and suggested manufacturers use websites to communicate what will not fit onto the packages label.
Rather than saying ‘made with wind energy’ as consumers may assume that this means only wind energy is used, she suggested saying ‘made today with 30 percent wind energy’. Consumers could then be directed to the website where information on this claim and details of future projects could be given.
Shelton also highlighted social media as a good tool to help companies communicate their ‘green’ messages.