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Consumer Market Research

Steer Clear of Greenwashing Labels: How to Get Consumers on Your Side?

Authored by Novus Insights 04/07/2024

The concerns about the climate crisis are worse than ever, as revealed by recent customer behavior analysis reports. In 2023, 22% of shoppers worldwide were conscious of sustainability, an increase from 18% the previous year. Additionally, 80% of consumers were willing to pay up to 5% more for sustainable products, with American consumers willing to pay an average of 11% more. While companies are striving to adopt environmentally sustainable practices, they encounter various obstacles. Some resort to "greenwashing," where they exaggerate their environmentally responsible actions. Greenwashing hinders brands from being genuinely responsible and prevents consumers from making truly eco-friendly purchases. In today’s blog, we will explore what greenwashing is, how it works, and how to avoid it, ensuring your brand remains authentic. This will help you protect yourself from falling into the greenwashing trap and take responsible actions that benefit the planet.

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is an advertising or marketing tactic where companies make deceptive, exaggerated, or false claims about the environmental benefits of their products, services, goals, operations, or policies. By using green PR and green marketing, these companies aim to mislead consumers and profit from the growing demand for eco-friendly products. While this tactic may temporarily boost a brand's reputation and sales, it poses long-term threats to the planet. Greenwashing undermines genuine efforts to reduce environmental impact and hinders progress toward a sustainable future. The good news is that recent consumer market research indicates that buyers are becoming more savvy, and they prefer brands that avoid greenwashing tactics. So, you better buckle up and avoid greenwashing.

How Does Greenwashing Work?

Greenwashing makes use of marketing tactics that create an illusion of environmental sustainability and responsibility. Companies often use vague or misleading claims about the environmental benefits of their products. Sometimes they use difficult-to-verify or false statements to term a product ‘eco-friendly’ even when it is clearly not. In some cases, companies wrongly use environmental labels or certifications such as ‘all-natural’, ‘green-friendly’, etc., to promote their products. Some companies even downplay the negative environmental impacts of their products or services while only highlighting the good ones. Another common greenwashing practice is not sharing enough information about the environmental impact of their products or operations. This makes it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions, as they’re unaware of the risks involved.

How to Steer Clear of Greenwashing Labels?

A Sustainability Sector Index (SSI) report focused on consumer behavior research revealed that 52% of people agreed that they had seen or heard misleading or false information given by brands. This signifies how common Greenwashing is in today’s time. This leads to notable consequences such as the undermining of genuine environmental sustainability efforts, discrediting environmental activism, wasting resources, and misleading consumers on a massive scale. Thus, your brand should steer clear of greenwashing labels to get consumers on your side. But how do you achieve that? Let’s explore how:

1. Use a Sustainability Strategy

Brands should implement a smart sustainability strategy to stay clear of Greenwashing labels and prevent misleading its consumers. It should also utilize reports from consumer research companies to come up with a perfect strategy to turn eco- and consumer-friendly.

2. Leverage Third-Party Certifications

Companies should look for third-party certifications such as Rainforest Alliance, USDA Organic certification, and others to provide an independent verification of a company’s environmental and social sustainability practices. The Competitions and Market Authority (CMA) in the UK states, “symbols, trust or quality marks awarded by independent third parties on the basis of a formal assessment against lawful and objective criteria are less likely to be misleading.

3. Be Truthful, User-friendly, and Factual

You should never mislead consumers or leave them confused about your environmental sustainability practices. The claims of your company should be factual, specific, and evidence-based and should include data sources. Avoid using claims like saving the planet, as every product has an environmental impact. Always use truthful and user-friendly claims that are easy to understand by your consumers.

4. Focus on a Product’s Entire Life-Cycle

Don’t rely on mere green-friendly marketing claims but focus on your product’s environmental impact during the whole life-cycle, from production to disposal. You can utilize the CMA’s Green Claims Code principles for best practices about the environmental claims for your brand. There are similar regulatory bodies for every region.

5. Conduct Thorough Research & Verify Information

Consumers also have the responsibility of not falling into the trap of Greenwashing while trying to switch toward more sustainable practices. To do so, you should search for independent and credible sources of information about a product or company’s environmental impact. Never rely on the marketing materials of a company to trust their impact on the environment. Always verify and double-check the information before making a purchasing decision.

Final Word

Greenwashing is a pitiful practice that has critical complications for both companies and consumers. Many businesses use it as a shield to grow their revenue, without realizing that it’s only going to hamper it in the longer term. Several consumer behavior analysis reports reveal that there is still hesitancy towards fully committing mind, finances, and actions toward sustainable solutions. Companies must realize that steering clear of greenwashing practices will ensure that their consumers stay on their side. This is where the role of a market research company becomes prominent. Collaborating with seasoned market research professionals can unlock new dimensions of business intelligence and enrich your brand research endeavors. That’s where Novus Insights comes in. We are one of the leading market research firms that can deliver actionable insights from research data using the most up-to-date market research techniques. To talk to our market research experts or get answers to all your questions about brand awareness strategy, call +91 1244142292, +91 7428225350, or email You may also fill out our contact form, and our market research consultants will reach out to you at the earliest.

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