Do you believe everything a company tells you about itself?
In this InTechnology video, Tom and Camille talk with Caryn Herder Fritz, Intel Sustainability Initiative Lead across Intel Marketing Initiatives Group. They get into the topic of greenwashing and how it causes consumers to mistrust corporate sustainability efforts. The conversation also touches on the developing standards for creating sustainability reports and marketing communications.
The Problem with Greenwashing
Caryn defines greenwashing as when corporate entities make claims around an environmental product or activity that can be misleading within a consumer’s mind. This can be intentional or unintentional, but it causes consumer mistrust either way. She cites a UK study that found a shocking 81% of participants did not trust corporate sustainability environmental effort communications.
Causes of these consumer trust issues due to greenwashing include companies making sweeping and unrealistic claims about their sustainability goals, along with a lack of differentiation in their messaging. How can consumers know which companies are taking realistic actions toward sustainability when all the messaging sounds the same?
Here, Caryn offers two solutions to avoid greenwashing. First, companies should focus on their subject matter expertise and connect their sustainability efforts to one element of sustainability. The other solution is to connect messaging directly to consumers’ values.
The corporate buzz around sustainability is still relatively new, and there are still no clear standards for reporting on and communicating corporate sustainability. Today, over 80% of companies produce self-imposed sustainability reports, but the lack of standards can easily lead to greenwashing by making generalized or over-ambitious claims.
To counteract this, Caryn shares how the semiconductor industry and other industries are working together to develop sustainability standards. These include standards for reporting, like how to measure the carbon footprint of a product, and how to effectively communicate how companies are meeting their sustainability goals. Right now, it’s ultimately up to the consumer to do their due diligence by researching corporate sustainability on their own.
Caryn Herder Fritz, Sustainability Initiative Lead for Cross-Intel Initiative Marketing at Intel Corporation
Caryn joined Intel in 2021 as a Messaging Strategist for Cross Portfolio Marketing, and she now spearheads Intel’s sustainability messaging as the Sustainability Initiative Lead for Cross-Intel Initiative Marketing. Before launching her career, she studied journalism at the University of Oregon. Caryn’s career in marketing has spanned over three decades working with industry-leading companies like Lockheed Martin and CMD before coming to Intel.
#greenwashing #marketing #sustainability
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guests and author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Intel Corporation.
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