It is no surprise that consumer trends are ever-evolving, and for companies that means changing up their marketing strategies. Within recent years, sustainability has become increasingly important in terms of the customer purchasing process. With more and more light being shed on the unethical and damaging production processes of our corporate world, consumers are demanding action to be taken to prevent environmental catastrophe.
Unfortunately, everything is easier said than done. Although businesses need to consider consumer desires as one of their top priorities, they must factor in the costs of changing their pre-established procedures. To keep prices low and competitive with other businesses, many industries have had to sacrifice quality and ethics in pursuit of cheaper resources and production.
A prominent example in the current market is the fast fashion industry. With the entire backbone of the industry being up and coming style crazes, businesses must accommodate the trends quickly before a new one replaces them. In order for that to happen, they must be able to quickly produce clothing and have them on the racks within a matter of days. It is already difficult enough to mass-produce clothing items within such a short time frame, which is why it comes as no surprise that sustainability plays no factor.
To truly be a green company, would require significant changes to the organizational structure of every department. Renewable resources would need to be acquired, staff would need to be educated, and packaging and materials would all need to be reconsidered. It is a timely and cost-intensive process, and it is one that many businesses are unwilling to partake in for the fear of losing profits.
This, as a result, has created a marketing phenomenon known as ‘greenwashing.’ To appeal to the current consumer demand for more sustainable products, companies will often make false claims of greener processes on their packaging that have no true factual basis behind it. This is simply to lure consumers into a false sense of security, making them believe that they are supporting a sustainable brand. The harsh reality is that these businesses have made no improvements to their operations, and have no true intentions to. As long as false advertising continues to prove itself to be beneficial for their sales, they will have no incentive to implement any actual greener processes.
The distinction between a green business and a greenwashing business is one that must be properly understood by consumers. Otherwise, corporations will only be further encouraged to continue down their unethical path towards success.