Whitewash (verb): to make something bad seem acceptable by hiding the truth.

Greenwash (verb): to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.

As we have said before, you don’t have to be perfect, but you absolutely need to be honest when you consider promoting your ethical credentials. False marketing claims will be exposed and that all-important trust will be lost overnight.

Greenwashingis rife.

  • 26% of companies have no proof to back up their claims
  • 11% of labelling is vague. 4% of green claims are irrelevant
  • 1% even make claims to distract customers from deficiencies (such as ‘organically grown tobacco’)
  • 1% are out-and-out lies

Source: The Sustainable Business

Ethical marketing requires complete transparency. Be proud of your positive actions but also acknowledge and be honest about the areas that you need to work on. Then tell customers what you plan to do about it, and when. Don’t be afraid of outlining why it’s not an easy quick fix.

If there are suspicions of over claim in your marketing, consider commissioning an independent source to audit and verify your claims. You may be surprised at the result.