What To Consider Before Going Green?

According to Statista Research Department, active social media users are expected to reach 3.43 billion by 2023. Global internet users are currently spending 144 minutes per day surfing social networks and this is continuing to grow. This is great news…. right?

Well… it’s also a little scary. Today’s social media channels have all sorts of people from different age groups, ethnicities, and backgrounds. For businesses, this diverse mix could mean that one might interact with some consumers who like your business and unfortunately, some who really don’t. So, if you’re not careful in managing and strategizing your online social media presence, you could end up in a land of trouble.

AND if you’re a sustainable business that is actively trying to promote sustainability efforts, you need to be extra careful while managing your online social media presence. Here’s why.

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword. More and more consumers are demanding brands to do better and care about their environmental and social impacts. Even with the current COVID-19 crisis, sustainability is on top of consumers’ minds with some even fighting to combat climate change and its long-term effects. According to SproutSocial, 53% of people revealed that they ditched brands that did not align with their personal values. Without mindful and transparent practices, this could mean profit and market share loss.

For this reason, brands have begun to use social media marketing tools and strategies to engage and communicate with existing and prospective customers about their sustainability efforts.

But this is not as simple as it sounds.

A big challenge that brands are facing in this new era of ‘sustainable marketing’ is that of greenwashing. Defined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1983, the term ‘Greenwashing’ simply translates to when a company promotes its products as more sustainable than they actually are, for the sake of attracting customers [1]. Believe it or not, that attractive green packaging that says ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘kind to the planet’ which melts your heart for 3 seconds at the grocery store, is mostly really not what it claims it be. This trend of greenwashing is being met with growing distrust of consumers in the sustainability social media campaigns promoted by brands.

Here’s an example of a popular company that got caught greenwashing during the #MeToo movement, to gain traction.

So, now you know that promoting your sustainability efforts on social media can be a tricky affair. It is therefore crucial that you begin by designing genuine and meaningful social media content to engage with consumers on factual sustainability efforts.

This essentially means thinking about growing a community and creating a revenue online, while having realistic and transparent ethics and morals. Ensuring that your social media marketing campaigns are backed by honest sustainability efforts is a great starting point if you seek to stay clear of greenwashing and find that magical balance between sustainability and business growth.

Source: [2]

So, tell us! As a consumer, have you ever been lured into buying ‘eco-friendly’ products due to attractive ‘green’ claims made by brands on social media? Let us know in the comments below!



[1]. Watson, B. (2016). The troubling evolution of corporate greenwashing. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/aug/20/greenwashing-environmentalism-lies-companies

[2]. Radley Yeldar. (2021). Words That Work. Retrieved from https://ry.com/media/4424/words-that-work-effective-language-in-sustainability-communications.pdf

Cover Photo Courtesy of Pexels.


Written by Pooja Devaraj and edited by Michele Wong.