In recent years, companies have progressively come to realise that sustainability must be more than a merely aesthetic concept; it must be a credible and quantifiable commitment. In fact, European regulations require companies to make real efforts, under threat of sanctions.
This regulatory step is intended, among other things, to prevent companies from engaging in greenwashing, a communication and marketing practice aimed at building a false image of corporate social responsibility.
The companies most linked to this practice belong to the energy and banking sectors, according to the report How to build reputation and avoid greenwashing, presented by Onclusive. In fact, these two fields account for half of the conversation generated around this issue in the media and social networks.
Energy companies and banks are not the only ones to be associated with greenwashing. Retail, food and beverages are also in the spotlight, each accounting for around 15% of media appearances on the issue. In contrast, the sectors that generate the least amount of conversation around the issue are tourism, real estate and construction.
Onclusive points out that the impact of greenwashing conversations usually originates on social networks – mainly Twitter – and is then picked up by journalists. Elon Musk’s social network and the media account for 80% of the conversation on this topic.
However, the impact of greenwashing on other social networks is very small. Only 9% of the conversation on this topic has taken place on LinkedIn and less than 3% on Instagram or Facebook. On blogs and videos, they have a residual presence.
In November 2021, the volume of conversation on social networks skyrocketed, coinciding with the celebration of COP26. The report points out that there is a growing need for environmental news in the traditional media and a public desire to feel informed. A scenario that provides numerous opportunities to shine a light on the work that brands do, if they do it right.