Conducted by consultancy Sensu Insight, Research We surveyed 1,682 adults across the UK. The survey he conducted in October 2022 and the results were published this week.
Survey respondents were asked whether they trust companies when referring to their environmental efforts and the environmental impact of their products and services. Only 19% of those surveyed said they were comfortable with “green” product descriptions, and only 23% said they took all these claims at face value. In other words, more than three-quarters are somewhat skeptical.
Only a minority (14%) of those surveyed said they did not believe the claims made by any company. This is because the majority of people believe there may be some truth to the claims, but are wary of tactics such as exaggeration, omission of key information, and failure to verify by independent third parties. It means that
Nearly a third (30%) of those surveyed said they expected most environmental claims made by companies and brands to be “slightly overstated.” 71% assume that most claims are probably not checked by an independent third party. These perceptions undermine the credibility of the claims.
Research shows that consumers are more skeptical of green claims by businesses than other sectors. Supermarkets, food, beverages and energy were the most trusted sectors, but skepticism was highest when people were confronted with advertisements from airlines, travel companies, automakers and fashion brands.
With regard to airlines and vacation providers, the report is the high-profile case of the Dutch airline KLM’s lawsuit by environmental groups over claims made in its advertisements this summer, leading airlines and holidaymakers across Europe. We acknowledge that it may affect our customers’ perception of the sector.
The majority (93%) of those surveyed said they had seen what they believed to be an example of greenwashing within the past month. The most common complaints are claims that the product or service is ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘sustainable’ or similar, with no facts or figures to support this claim. A quarter say greenwashing concerns have reduced their spending on brands and companies in the past year.
Sensu Insight Managing Director Steve Leigh said: We live in increasingly cynical times, and accusations of “fake news” make us more likely to question everything we hear.
“When such suspicion is amplified through social media, it can feel like all the ‘facts’ are being questioned and undermined. becomes particularly difficult. ”
Avoiding “green hashing”
The report acknowledges that to avoid greenwashing accusations, some brands and companies may feel compelled to communicate less about their environmental plans. This practice is known as “green hashing”.
Companies may want to avoid boycotts, increased employee turnover, and reputational risks.
But the survey found that 86% of UK adults want more transparency from businesses about their environmental impacts, initiatives and goals.
Sensu Insight advises companies to never stop communicating. Mr Leigh said: It is important to ensure that all messages are consistent and backed by independent evidence. This is most likely to earn the trust of the public and other organizations.
“The most effective communication is often bolstered by authoritative professionals and reflected in all of an organization’s operations.
“Finally, it is important to listen carefully to how stakeholders respond, participate and adapt to areas of improvement.”
A study released last year by South Pole revealed a trend toward green-hashing corporate climate goals. The survey of 1,200 large companies with net-zero targets found that one-quarter (26%) of those companies that applied to the Science Based Targets Initiative said their companies had written about the new targets on their website or in reports. It turns out that the information has not been made public. This trend is particularly pronounced in high-emission industries, with a fairly small number (24%) of companies publishing only their nationally mandated climate milestones.
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