How Unilever and other marketers work to avoid greenwashing

by Administrator
16 replies
A new article on Marketing Dive reports that the CPG giant's chief digital and marketing officer said a gap exists between consumer attitudes and actions around sustainability because of confusion and complexity.

The author says that increased consumer attention toward climate change and the environment continues to make sustainability a priority for companies across industries, even amid a pandemic that has changed consumer behaviors and attitudes. Yet marketing sustainable products and related corporate pledges has been a challenge that few have mastered.

Avoiding claims of "greenwashing" -- a term for misleading the public about the environmental impact of products or actions -- was top-of-mind for several executives during a Wednesday session at Advertising Week. Marilla Perkins is senior director of marketing and strategic communications at material solutions company Bolt Threads:

"[Greenwashing is] not just intentionally misleading, but also unintentionally misleading. As marketers in this space, it's critical that we're asking those hard questions about the language we're using to make sure that we're not unintentionally greenwashing or misleading people about our products."
Consumers increasingly want to buy sustainable brands, with so-called conscious consumption on the rise. Conny Braams is Unilever's Chief Digital and Marketing Officer:

"Consumers are looking for sustainable products, but the value proposition needs to work as well. So they will be looking for superior product performance against an affordable price. Indeed, people are very concerned that they want to [do] the right thing, but actually only few people do, and the reason why we see a 'say-do' gap is because it is confusing and complex for them to make the right choices."
The key to marketing sustainable products is making them simple and preferred, and while perhaps easier said than done, driving everyday choices around sustainable behaviors could have an enormous impact on the environment. The coronavirus health crisis is changing consumer behaviors and attitudes toward brands, complicating marketing around sustainability.

Unilever has taken specific lessons to heart with its corporate and marketing efforts. The Climate Action Transition Plan lays out steps the company will take to reduce emissions to zero within its own operations by 2030 and across its value chain by 2039. In May, 99% of shareholders who voted on the non-binding resolution voted in favor of it. Unilever is also taking action by strengthening the integration of climate actions with its brands and innovations, as it did with a "Make Taste, Not Waste" campaign by its Hellmann's mayonnaise brand. Powered by a Super Bowl commercial starring comedian Amy Schumer, the effort was informed by research that showed consumers waste an estimated $29 billion a year because of confusion over the meaning of date labels -- food waste that runs counter to sustainability. The marketer is also helping brands invest in projects that tackle climate change and protect nature with its Climate & Nature Fund.

For Unilever, the integration of sustainability and marketing is key to changing consumer decisions that are often made within two or three seconds. Using simplicity to share information about sustainability is a challenge, but an opportunity to make real change.
#avoid #greenwashing #marketers #unilever #work
  • Profile picture of the author WF- Enzo
    ALL companies greenwash to make it appear like they're doing sustainability shenanigans. It's the inconvenient truth.
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Its the whole principle of "Net Zero" NET? What about GROSS? The whole thing is monetized... "Emissions Credits" are just a joke. I have a few facilities now that are operating at GROSS Negative. I sell my "Certified" Emissions Credits - it literally is the stupidest thing ever, but ill take the money.

    Look at something like a Solar panel, you have to operate them for 4 to 5 years to get to a point of "Net Zero" and it takes something like 9 to 11 years to get them to Gross Zero. And right about that point, the degradation will be to the point they will need to be replaced. In theory at this point in time with the technology we have available, you will never truly get to Gross Negative - BUT in the open Emissions credit market, those facts dont matter.

    So I am basically selling Net Positive energy as a gross negative product, and its just silly - Legal, but silly.
    Success is an ACT not an idea
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    • Profile picture of the author Subhodip Das
      Then what is the whole point of getting that solar panel? What do your think is the best way to safeguard the environment?
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by Subhodip Das View Post

        Then what is the whole point of getting that solar panel? What do your think is the best way to safeguard the environment?
        An interesting question. More often than not Govts the world over are more interested in making it look like they are doing something, and not actually doing anything.

        If we look at the EU green whatever accords that The United States left, and has recently re-entered, I can BOLDLY make a statement - NONE of these countries will be producing solar panels let alone batteries any time soon ( as in from bare materials to finished product ) The carbon footprint is so out of balance that the new Green initiatives just wont allow it.

        So what has happened is you now have these countries saying "look at us we are green" and then they turn around and order these not so green products from countries that are not so strict with the Green vs Carbon balance. China produces more Carbon emissions than any and every other country in the world COMBINED. So we are not FIXING the carbon issue, we are simply passing the buck - and I believe it to be stupid myself.

        There are some studies suggesting that the concentration of carbon emissions within a single geographical region ( China ) is actually having a more harmful effect, than if the emissions were dispersed across the globe. And if you spend even half a moment thinking about it, it makes sense.

        So whats the solution? Wind and Solar are NOT solutions, I wouldn't even say they are band aids. Look at the last 2 years and youi can see example after example of the short comings. The obvious short term answer would be energy storage. If the production of Solar panels is bad, dont even look at the carbon footprint of batteries - its ugly.

        So the struggle is finding a renewable resource - as of right now Natural Gas has a better carbon footprint than solar does - its just obviously not renewable. I personally think there is really only one answer as of right now - with current technology and that would be Nuclear.

        The problem then becomes the fact there are 195 countries in the world and only 32 of them currently have Nuclear power, and then only 3 of those 32 actually use it as a primary source of electricity.

        I am in no way advocating nuclear power straight across the globe, I think we all understand how foolish that is - and even in recent days I question how rational it is for the United States to have nuclear.

        So lets step back to solar... lets look atthis system ( ) as an example. 12 to 15kwh's sounds impressive.. and then look at the fine print, this system will run the typical house for 15 HOURS Basically the first overcast rainy or snowy day, and you are screwed. At a MINIMUM you would have to double this system - at a MINIMUM. So $40,000 in, and spread that out over 10 yrs $4000.00 a year, or $333.33 a month. To give you an idea, before I switched my house, i was paying $100.00 a month budgeted to run my house.

        Who then in this world has Solar? I can tell you with a straight face it aint poor people. So what just happened to the green utopia? It became a Utopia for the rich. POWER is the next political divide - and its going to be HUGE. I mean think about it... Texas last winter... forget about POOR people add in Middle class, upper class... who had power? I can tell you the line fell right down socially and economic lines. And the brown outs in California... same thing. POWER is the next separation form haves and have nots.

        Technology needs to grow into the demand. The free market model for power needs to make a drastic shift, because the free market as it stands right now can not afford the needed changes. Power production needs to be produced en-mass by Natural as or Nuclear OR Power needs to be produced where it is used - and subsidized out the ying yang.

        So what exaclty does that mean? You either have to have a centralized power grid, or you have to have each and every building self sufficient. And we all know the later is not possible - just think Downtown any town and a building any higher than say 3 stories would not have the real estate needed to provide power to that building - so NYC would need to be brought down to the ground and start over - probably not going to happen.

        he whole notion that we can be "Green" in 10 yrs is a lie... it will take that long just to get the first nuclear plants OK'd with all of the red tape associated with all of that. As the push continues things will only get worse long before they get better, and it will be the folks that can afford to invest in self powering that will be ahead of the curve.

        Writings on the wall, and no one is looking up!
        Success is an ACT not an idea
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    I believe the dynamics surrounding the debate of climate change is in part why green marketing has a disconnect with many consumers...

    Climate change is thought of as a group effort involving everyone.

    The companies that push green marketing are thought of as doing good by most...but economics and marketing rule most buying decisions. I.E., Axe (Unilever owned), is known for marketing the sexiness in their product. Most men will be drawn to a marketing message of being sexy than to a message of "we're green" and helping the environment. But...

    the announcement of we're green or we have a 231-year forecast of becoming all green instills a "cover all" for a company.

    On the other hand, healthwashing...

    Gluten-free, fat-free, healthy choice...all appeal to a personal component that the consumer can choose to immediately accept to make personal changes. Even though personally, I consider most of it hype.

    So, in my opinion greenwashing is slower in coming around because of the group effort aspect, compared to healthwashing which is a personal choice and in the sole control of the consumer
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      On the other hand, healthwashing...

      Gluten-free, fat-free, healthy choice...all appeal to a personal component that the consumer can choose to immediately accept to make personal changes. Even though personally, I consider most of it hype.

      So, in my opinion greenwashing is slower in coming around because of the group effort aspect, compared to healthwashing which is a personal choice and in the sole control of the consumer
      I get what you are saying - it in the end is a personal choice, but the root comes back to the same place as greenwashing... Governments and laws. There isnt an assortment of 100 Calorie snacks, be it a bag of chips or cookies or candy because it is good for sales - Its LAW. Not sure it is true today, but a number of years ago didnt Bloomberg ban "sugary drinks" over 16 oz's in NYC? Then you get into school food and the requirements, and once again there is law in place.

      If you really want to get to the core of the issue ( Obesity ) You really have to look no further than artificial sweeteners - Healthwashing today is body shaming of yesteryear - and aside from all of the scientific evidence and data The Govt still oked these ingredients, you have to look no further than the obesity rate before ( artificial sweeteners ), and obesity rate after and it.

      And agian all of this stuff is govt regulated... much of it was fast tracked, or brought back out of necessity ( because of sugar shortage in WWII ) but the fact remains its just known to be bad - but again appearance over rules effect. They want to look like they are doing something when in fact they are doing nothing.

      Another great example would be smoking... The Govts of the world step in years and years ago and regulate what goes in a cigarette right? ( There is a list 200 ingredients long BTW ) The Govt has known for YEARS they were bad... Look at percentage of population dying of lung cancer before regulation and then look after. Same pattern as above.

      In all of these cases the "Sellers" of said products are the ones that take the fall... BUT they are selling this stuff with the ok and authority of govt bodies. It really makes no sense.

      And we are going to watch the pattern repeat itself yet again with power - this time the issue will be the lack of, and not excess - its already happening. The finger pointing has already started - look at Texas or California - power companies are simply following State regulations, and they are the bad guys... Once you understand it, if it wasnt so tragic, it would be funny.
      Success is an ACT not an idea
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  • Profile picture of the author BDSOFT FAIR
    Whatever! Developing and the underdeveloped country will bear the most.
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4

    Case and point Govt with their head up their tail ends Lets tax to give a credit for batteries.

    Here is the absolute kicker... as long as you are "On Grid" with solar, battery or not, when the power goes out, your lights go out as well, because of the backflow of electricity that would occur.

    And I absolutely love the rant in the beginning of the video about Natural Gas plants... our Govt is literally THAT stupid.

    So what is REALLY going on is the writing is on the wall that the security of privatized power is in jeopardy. Meaning, the more people that switch to solar the fewer dollars the utility companies will be collecting.

    One of the interesting things I have read and it goes opposite of what Kevin mentions is that instead of taking up land to build out solar farms, why doesnt the power company install them on homes. They could focus less investment on panels and more investment on large scale batteries.

    Look down the average street in America and imagine 4 to 8 panels per roof with a battery about the equivalent power storage size of 8 or so Powerwalls up on a pole next to a transformer.

    For the love of pete, this stuff is not that hard.. well it is hard when you are more concerned with the interest of the power company and them making money - and keeping jobs. There is no reason on this green earth that all residential power usage should be obtained by solar with battery back up, as in NO NEED for a grid, grids cant fail if there isnt one. The only real reason for larger gas or nuclear power plants then is solely for commercial and industrial use - and in large cities with increased housing density ( high rise apartments )

    And as Kevin mentions converting aging gas power plants and making them 8x more efficient - There are literally more efficient coal powered plants in WV that are greener than the gas fired power plants in California - that is how insane all of this is.

    There simply needs to be a shift... smarter, less regulated, and less taxing and let the FREE MARKET do the rest - because it WILL do whats best, if given the opportunity.
    Success is an ACT not an idea
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Odahh View Post

      As for backflow there is a switch the can be thrown to restore the power to a house and prevent power from going to the grid.
      Absolutely true, but look up each States regulations on this and if you are solar and hooked to the grid as well, your power goes out just like everyone elses. kinda humorous actually - one of those sad but true deals! haha
      Success is an ACT not an idea
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      • Profile picture of the author Odahh
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        • Profile picture of the author savidge4
          Originally Posted by Odahh View Post

          But we still have more millionaires and billionaires in this country. Nothing a wealth tax can't fix.
          what exactly does it "fix"? Name just one thing that fixes... one

          The top 1% of earners ( those making over $440,000.00 a yr ) pay 40.1% of the taxes in this country. The bottom 90% of earners pay 28.6% meaning those in the middle ( 9% ) pay 31.3% of the taxes.

          So lets isolate the top 10% that pay 68.7% of the taxes. Guess what, it is those people that hire the other 90%. Is this the part you think unfair?

          Whay happens to the economy when the top 10% stop hiring people? Start laying off people? What happens to the economy when the "rich" people say screw it and start investing in rental property? If you understand anything about economics you would know if that happens that the transfer of funds from rent would be zero'd out with expenses, and in the end the tax base would drop.

          I mean its really not hard in America to be a member of the 1% club...a job and a side hussle could get you there. The ONLY thing that separates the 1% from the 90% is mentality, and work ethic. 90%ers cant wait to get out of work, and 1% have to be dragged away - think about that for a moment, that right there is all that separates the 1% from the 90%.

          I justdont understand the logic in this... again taxing the "rich" does what, other than give the Govt more money to burn - and that is exactly what they will do with it.

          Your concept of money is justnot based in reality... The RICHEST person on earth qualifies for food stamps - pretty sure he doesnt get them, but with his 5 kids, he more than qualifies. And why or how is that? I know the answer to that question, do you?
          Success is an ACT not an idea
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          • Profile picture of the author max5ty
            Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

            what exactly does it "fix"? Name just one thing that fixes... one
            I agree taxing the wealthy is bogus.

            The wealthy (majority) are the small business owners.

            When you tax the're taxing everyone that buys from them.

            If my taxes increase, I'm going to charge more for one of my burgers, or one of my widgets...and pass the increase on to those that buy from is every small business owner.

            If you're a corp and the taxes increase...prices will also increase so the shareholders stay happy with their dividends.

            I always find those that talk about tax increases are the ones that really don't have a lot of knowledge in the business world.

            I know this comment is basic and not in-depth, but it's a basic opinion of how things work in real life without getting political...
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  • Gotta hope there is more momentum between hoomans to erect sustainable structures kinda prodyooce desirables.

    Hey, but such is my dream.

    All I know is, the Sun (She Behemoth of Beauty) has been powerin' down life upon Terra Squirma mostly by accident huppuntil recently.

    So why naht her sonic glow

    energize steada
    vampire suck from below?

    Worst case scenario:
    the LENS we have naht yet invented
    gets pointed STOOPID
    by sum FRICKIN CHUMP.

    Or is that the worst case scenario for nooclear also?

    As a natchrlly perky kinda person,
    I would wish always for us to do bettah
    with the miraculature at our feet.

    So why we splittin' atoms
    when we could be soakin' up?

    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff togethah.

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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    It not my logic it's the logic of those we where talking about the regulators and rule makers.

    I was was referring to other policies the people taxing solar propose

    So you wasted a lot of response . I will go back and delete it as any attempt to better explain it gets to political.

    I think I deleted all my responses oh well
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  • Profile picture of the author AlexBackerZ
    Such fraud operates not only in the food or food industries but even in a conventional construction site. I can give you an example. I have a house outside the city that my wife wanted to make environmentally friendly, that is, from eco-friendly materials. But unfortunately, we got bad people and sold us the wrong thing. At first, my wife was very disappointed, because we lost money and plus it wasn't what we wanted. But we were helped by Frisco Roofing contractors, who were honest and did everything the way we wanted.
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    • Profile picture of the author WF- Enzo
      Sure, what's your example?

      Originally Posted by AlexBackerZ View Post

      Such fraud operates not only in the food or food industries but even in a conventional construction site. I can give you an example.
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  • Profile picture of the author Reddevil007
    Some really interesting discussion going on too bad we are mislead on the so called solar issue so its always good to see people have sensible discussions
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