Top 4 Ways a Manufacturer Can Avoid Greenwashing

For manufacturers, online reputation is a vital component of eCommerce success. As a result, they have to avoid being tagged as a company using misleading product information. Today, “greenwashing” is one of the most dangerous product information missteps, as it misleads customers into believing products offer environmental benefits when they don’t. Although some brands are okay with this dishonest approach, increasingly eco-conscious consumers quickly call out companies harming consumers and the environment. Honesty is the key to avoiding manufacturer greenwashing.

As a result, greenwashing will damage a brand’s reputation with diligence in customer awareness and a focus on corporate conscience. Here, we look at the top four ways manufacturers can avoid inadvertent greenwashing to protect their brand.

1. Transparency about the environmental impact

Consumers today want to avoid buying habits that hurt the planet. Therefore, they seek out companies they can trust and that support their commitment to protecting the environment. Trust in your company calls for transparency about the environment and truthful representation of your green efforts.

To avoid consumer scrutiny, it begins with honesty when sharing information regarding your products’ environmental impact.

Product details such as the raw materials you use, the energy required in production, the emissions generated, sustainability, etc., must be accurate.

To ensure accuracy and consistency, you can use product information management software (PIM) to improve efficiency in creating and uploading product data to your sales and marketing channels. PIMs help improve transparency by making it easier to include the following:

  • Pre-purchase information with details about how your products are sourced and the materials used to make them.
  • Key product details on product makeup, such as manufacturing methods for each material used in your product
  • Delivery details to explain how your processes reduce CO2 through your supply chain.
  • Post-purchase considerations that show customers your products are made to expand lifespan and avoid landfills.

2. Focus on genuine sustainability

Sustainable efforts, such as reducing waste, improving energy efficiency, using renewable materials, or reducing water usage, must be backed up with factual data and measurable results supporting manufacturer claims about greenwashing. These are efforts to be proud of, but based on “official” sustainable practices, they might not qualify based on your methods.

Before claiming you use sustainable methods, it’s essential manufacturers work with environmental organizations to ensure your practices are, in fact, sustainable. In other words, manufacturer greenwashing can be committed unintentionally, so you can never be too careful.

You might consider looking into third-party certifications under one of the certifying bodies. Certification proves you are committed to environmental sustainability and enables you to place the logo on advertising, websites, and packaging. For example, Certified B Corps are assessed by the nonprofit group B Lab and must demonstrate they “want the best for their employees, their business partners, their investors, and the world.”

3. Capture the facts

So much goes into both producing a product and getting it to market. As a result, consumers want to track items from conception to consumer use. Therefore, understanding the supply chain from the point of origin to your factories tells the story of how your products reached the marketplace.

Your goal is to find areas that can be improved upon. On a very granular scale, this might be as simple as no longer providing spare buttons for your clothing line. Think of how many of those buttons go unused! Recognizing patters like this is essential for avoiding manufacturer greenwashing

Researching how many people use the extra buttons can help you decide if removing this from your products will interfere with customer experience. Now, you’re in a position where you can improve the efficiency of the time put into producing those buttons and reduce the materials used, the shipment, the energy consumption, labor, etc. Also, providing more visibility into your supply chain enables you to spot contradictory steps that cancel out your green efforts.

A perfect example is that spare button. Finally, looking at the entire product lifecycle ensures your environmental claims are honest instead of misleading.

4. Stay away from misleading claims

When backed up by detailed evidence showing how you meet your green initiative goals, you avoid omissions consumers might discover with further research. For example, your claim is misleading if you use the term “all-natural” in your product descriptions and the product still includes harmful chemicals. You have to avoid unsubstantiated claims until you have facts to back them up.

Again, your PIM stores your qualifying data so you can share it across all channels to build trust. A PIM’s vetting capabilities also enable you to set rules to remain compliant with green regulations and codes to avoid using misleading language and terms such as “all-natural” and “eco-friendly” when they don’t apply.

Pimberly helps you substantiate claims with accurate product data. As a result, manufacturers avoid greenwashing, maintain transparency, and provide data demonstrating genuine sustainability throughout the supply chain. To set up a demo, click here.