We hear about lots of greenwashing accusations, but what does it really mean? What separates greenwashing from legitimate green marketing?
We like EnviroMedia Social Marketing & The University of Oregon’s Greenwashing Index. They allow the public to score ads based on 5 criteria (they are negative criteria so the higher the score, the worse the greenwashing offense).
The criteria are the following:
- The ad misleads with words: This criteria asks the viewer, how believable are the claims the company is making? Focus on words only.
- The ad misleads with visuals: Is the company using green or natural-looking images to make the product or producer seem more environmentally friendly?
- The ad makes a green claim that can’t be proven: Does the ad make claims without explaining them fully, or explaining the rationale behind them?
- The ad overstates or exaggerates how green the product/organization is. Does their assertion seem outlandish?
- The ad leaves out or masks important information. Does the ad divert attention from something else the company does? Is there a big impact missing from their claims?
The purpose of the Greenwashing Index is to educate consumers on how to see through greenwashed ads. As a company, you can fit your own ads to the increasingly sophisticated market.
Want more? Check out our free webinar: Kermit is Dead: Effective Messaging in the Maturing Green Market.