17 March 2023

Climate change is posing the greatest threat to our future, and Millennials and Gen Z are turning their backs on consumer brands that mask the damage they are inflicting on the environment.

Sneakily, some companies are employing more sophisticated strategies to their greenwashing campaigns, not just to fool consumers, but investors too. Being alert to these strategies is becoming increasingly important.

According to Planet Tracker, there are 6 types of greenwashing strategies that companies are adopting to manipulate consumers and evade investor scrutiny:

Greencrowding – hiding in the crowd by adopting minimal sustainability policies, exploiting the instinct of investors and the media to be drawn to the largest crowds and their policies.

Greenlighting – highlighting particular green features of operations and products, taking attention away from the damaging activities that make up most of a company’s operations.

Greenshifting – shifting blame onto consumers to make them feel guilty, rather than taking responsibility for the company’s actions.

Greenlabelling – misleading consumers by using vague jargon to misleadingly call products or actions green  or sustainable.

Greenrinsing – regularly changing ESG targets before getting anywhere close to achieving them, but talking a ‘big game’ to mask their underachievements.

Greenhushing – underreporting insufficient sustainability activities.

Laws and regulations are chaining to limit the extent of greenwashing, but seeing through these strategies to get a true picture of these companies will continue to be a focus for us as well as for consumers and investors in the foreseeable future.

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