4 Reasons Your Sustainability Claims Will Matter More Than Ever In 2022

5 Reasons Your Sustainability Claims Will Matter More Than Ever in 2022

By Krissie • 2 December 2021

As a business owner, you know that how we position our brands within the marketplace matters. No matter the vertical or the space, it’s important to clearly communicate who you are, who you’re serving – and what you stand for (your values).

If you’re browsing the MindfulCommerce Education Hub, we’re willing to bet that sustainability is a cornerstone of your own brand’s position - Hooray!

Or… are you? Things are starting to really hot up for eco-aligned brands, both in terms of competition and the validity of their environmental claims. The pressure is definitely on for 2022. Read on to learn more about why the magnifying glasses are being polished when it comes to eco claims… 

1. Regulation is Starting to Catch Up With Big Business

Money makes the world go round – and sadly, for as long as big brands can enjoy the promotional boost that comes with framing their unsustainable offering in a greener light, they’ll keep on greenwashing.

However - we’re finally starting to see some tangible consequences hitting brands that take the deceptive route. Hitting businesses in the pocket is the only thing that will keep them away from this decidedly dodgy practice of Greenwashing, so it's been gratifying to see some high profile cases go all the way to conviction and hefty fines.

At the start of 2020, Italian oil company Eni was awarded the dubious honour of being the first business in the country to be prosecuted for greenwashing. They were fined €5 million (US$5.94 million) for claiming that their palm oil-based diesel was ‘green’ in promotional campaigns.

2. The CMA is Signalling a Tougher Attitude Towards Transgressors

We’ve also seen the recent introduction of the Green Claims Code. This is a framework provided by CMA that aims to help businesses self-assess their marketing with regard to the accuracy of their sustainability claims.

While at face value, this is a very positive and helpful resource, we’d hazard a guess that it also suggests a less tolerant approach towards greenwashing from the CMA in the future, to businesses of all sizes – not just the big names. After all, if they’ve given you a chance (and the tools needed) to do the right thing with regard to your marketing claims, why haven't you?

To learn more about the Green Claims Code and what it might mean for your business or brands, check out our recent explainer article.

3. Green Hushing is Becoming a Real Problem

At the other end of the spectrum, the issue of brands not shouting enough about all the good that they do for the planet is also a growing problem. This is another negative impact of the greenwashing effect. Brands see other companies get ripped to shreds for unsubstantiated claims, and worry about promoting their own efforts (however honest and valid!) in case they’re met with the same cynical reception.

The trend of brands worrying about shining a light on the good that they do in the fear it won't be seen as “enough” really needs to stop. It’s hampering the progress of so many brands within retail and beyond, and means that brands aren’t being rewarded or acknowledged for the good that they do. With so many brands hushing up their green activities, it’s also harder for others to recognise their efforts and follow their lead in their own businesses.

Please, communicate your efforts and continue to inspire others to do the same, as long as you are honest and transparent. We can support you with your mindful communications if you’d like some expert support.

4. Customers are Getting Canny

The interest in shopping more sustainably is, by now, well established. As customers become more accustomed to making more mindful choices, they’re increasingly demanding. There’s an expectation of transparency and accountability. The bar will continue to rise here - and we predict that, in 2022, public facing “easy access” information (for example, carbon labelling of individual products) will become a very hot topic.

What can you do to prepare? 

Audit your site, packaging and any marketing materials for opportunities to communicate the essential facts regarding sustainability to your customers. Remember – progress over perfection. You don’t need to be ticking every single box. It’s okay to talk honestly about what you’ve done so far, acknowledge the journey you’re still on and communicate the steps you hope to take in the future.

How Risky is it to be an “Eco” Brand in 2022?

Should rising levels of scrutiny, compliance requirements and consumer expectations dissuade you from positioning yourself as a sustainable brand in 2022? Absolutely not! 

If anything, as regulations start to heat up, the brands doing the real work should get more of the spotlight. This is about transparency and honesty – truthful claims and a desire to keep on chipping away at the positive impact that our businesses have on the planet and the people that they touch.

If you’re looking for some guidance on how to fully assess your brand and find a more mindful, meaningful way forward – we can help.

Join the MindfulCommerce Community for advice, support and heaps of inspiration from friendly, like-minded brands trying to do the right thing in 2022 and beyond.