Unmasking deceptive greenwashing

Unmasking deceptive greenwashing

Recent decades have reflected a growing societal desire to pursue ecological lifestyles and minimise environmental harm.

Further still, consumers are increasingly placing their business with brands and seeking out products that they believe are actively making a positive contribution to the planet.

Recognising this trend, many companies have been swift to capitalise on this growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products. However, a deceptive practice known as “greenwashing” has developed on the back of the resultant surge in green marketing…

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers by making false or overstated environmental claims in hopes to win over the eco-conscious customer, while undermining authentic efforts towards sustainability. Untrustworthy claims made by greenwashing brands divert attention and resources away from authentic sustainable activities, creating a negative impact on both consumers and the environment.

Image shows a women in a white top and mask behind a green plant. Greenwashing.

Consumer aware – company beware

Consumers are becoming ever more vigilant and critically analyse environmental claims made by companies to avoid falling victim to greenwashing. They do this by being able to pinpoint vague terminology or lack of certifications to authenticate company claims.

Companies that actively pursue sustainability are more likely to be fully transparent with their customers and consumers by sharing and celebrating their efforts through data, recognised third-party certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or EcoVadis, they are more likely to provide regular updates on their environmental goals, sharing and boasting of their achievements.

Therefore, customers and consumers are becoming increasingly observant to the absence of transparency by brands and making more conscious decisions on where to shop. As the momentum behind greenwashing increases improved guidelines and procedures by governments and regulatory bodies are needed to hold dishonest businesses accountable.

Most importantly for the customer and the environment, companies should be accountable for their corporate responsibility. They can do this by investing in eco-friendly initiatives and providing transparent, up-to-date, accurate information to consumers to help build consumer trust.

Transparency and eco-labelling

It is important to the customer and the environment, that companies are accountable for their corporate responsibility. They can do this by investing in eco-friendly initiatives and providing transparent, up-to-date, accurate information to consumers to help build consumer trust.

  • Clear communication and avoiding misleading or vague claims.
  • Keeping up to date. Sharing goals and updates and staying transparent when we lose track or targets are not being met – explaining why and provide a new plan of action.
  • Seeking third-party independent verification to validate environmental claims.
  • Educating employees to enable more environmentally conscious decisions and taking accountability.
  • Ensuring sustainable practices are inherent in a company’s DNA rather than just a marketing slogan

Through collective efforts by companies, consumers, and the government, we can uncover greenwashing practices and encourage a shift towards genuine sustainability, safeguarding our planet for future generations. Combating greenwashing requires collective action from consumers, regulatory bodies, and responsible businesses, beginning with consumer education, learning about greenwashing practices and recognising accredited certifications, we can enable everyone to make informed choices.

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Unmasking deceptive greenwashing

Request the visual PDF of the Unmasking deceptive greenwashing article here.

Unmasking deceptive greenwashing PDF


The green shift within marketing

The term “green shift” refers to the global shift towards sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. The green shift is having a significant impact on consumer behaviour and therefore affecting marketing strategies for businesses. Green marketing is great for businesses, providing they can prove their environmental claims, awards and accreditations, and follow up on their sustainable goals and targets.


Examples of green practices include:

  • Environmentally friendly materials in products and services. Including eco-friendly packaging materials.
  • Products or services which are produced with a low- carbon footprint/renewable energy sources.
  • Educating consumers and customers about the environment built into their products, marketing campaigns and brand ethos.
  • Organic materials that are harmful free chemicals to animals and the environment.
  • Partnering with recognised third-party certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)


Customers and consumers are becoming more conscious of their purchasing decisions and the effects on the environment, as a result, there is a growing demand for sustainable, eco-friendly products. The shift has stimulated industries to incorporate sustainability into their marketing strategies, highlighting their eco-friendliness, and sharing goals and achievements such as their carbon footprint reach.

Consumers are increasingly considering a company’s stance and environmental practices when making purchasing decisions. Brands that show a genuine commitment to sustainability and the environment resonate more with environmentally conscious consumers. Marketing campaigns that emphasise a company’s sustainability initiatives or support for social causes can help build a positive brand image.

The recent June 2022 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey by PwC, showed that 77% of people are influenced by a company’s environmental record when deciding to buy from. (PwC,2022)


A rise in ‘green influencers’

Influencer marketing is a popular strategy for reaching specific target audiences. In the context of the green shift, there is a rise in the prominence of green influencers or eco- conscious influencers who promote sustainable lifestyles and products. Collaborating with these niche influencers can help brands tap into the growing audience interested in sustainable living and environmentally friendly products. Green hashtags are trending, making it easier for likeminded consumers to find their products and brands which align with their values.

Transparency and eco-labelling

To avoid ‘greenwashing’ consumers are expected to be ever so vigilant. There is an increased demanded for transparency from brands regarding their environmental practices. Recognised third-party certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Terra Carta Sustainable Markets Initiative add to authenticity.

Customers and consumers want to know if products are sustainably sourced, and if they were manufactured ethically using renewable energy or with recyclable materials. To meet this demand, companies are implementing eco-labelling practices to communicate the sustainability attributes of their products. Marketing campaigns often highlight these eco-labels to attract environmentally conscious consumers. We have recently worked with Hoya Vision Care, tasked with creating new display cases to be used within their retail spaces. They wanted a sustainable approach as we used bamboo instead of aluminium and plastic and Katz Board instead of normal cardboard. The entire display was modular and designed to be re-usable.

Consumers are looking for brands that align with their values and aspirations, thus the green shift has placed a greater emphasis on storytelling and brand narratives. Effective marketing campaigns often focus on telling a compelling brand story that emphasises sustainability, environmental stewardship or social responsibility. Brands that can authentically communicate their commitment to the environment and engage consumers on an emotional level are likely to have a competitive advantage.

The digital revolution has played a significant role in the green shift. Online platforms provide a space for consumers to research, compare and review products based on their sustainability credentials. This has compelled marketers to leverage digital channels, such as social media and websites, to communicate their sustainable practices, engage with environmentally conscious consumers and educate them about the benefits of their eco-friendly offerings.

The surge of the green shift is encouraging more companies, customers and consumers to make more conscious decisions in turn educating and therefore helping reduce negative impacts on the planet. Overall, the green shift has transformed marketing by pushing companies to prioritise sustainability, adopt transparent practices and effectively communicate their eco-friendly initiatives to appeal to the growing base of environmentally conscious consumers.

To find out how we at APS can help you navigate the green shift get in touch with our sustainability experts to learn more about how we can make more possible in this area.


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