Earth Day, when stakeholders of all industries unite to advance sustainability, is coming up. The demand for bold, creative and innovative ideas is on the rise. Previously, we wrote about Dos and Don’ts of Sustainable Marketing. Now we would like to show you how to integrate Earth Day into your marketing activities and what you, as marketers, should pay attention to.
What is Earth Day?
Every year on April 22nd, or alternatively on the day the vernal equinox occurs, Earth Day is an event marked in calendars all over the world. This day highlights the need for long-term ecological sustainability and the awareness to take action in investing in our planet. The tradition started in 1970 during the beginnings of the environmental movement. In the 1990s, it became a global event and now, according to the official Earth Day Website, over 190 countries and 1 billion people are mobilized. Events are planned for world-wide clean-ups, projects funded to speed up reforestation and awareness campaigns are launched on topics like sustainable fashion, reducing plastic pollution or the importance of reusable products.
How Do Companies Get Involved in Earth Day?
The consumer economy is one of the most substantial emitters of greenhouse gasses. Many companies use Earth Day as a moment to showcase how they promote sustainability topics by investing in sustainable infrastructure, expanding their sustainable investment portfolio and motivating their employees to take measures to minimize their environmental footprint.
Here are some ways this is done:
- Using renewable energy
- Selling environmentally friendly products
- Going paperless
- Offering bike-to-work incentives
- Investing in reforestation projects
- Promoting climate action with their content
Investing in sustainability is a strategic business decision that puts companies in line with the current economic landscape. Companies that prioritize early and frequent sustainable measures are already reaping benefits and are on track for success.
Potential Pitfall: Greenwashing
As a result of the urgency of the climate crisis, some companies have fallen into Greenwashing. This may occur intentionally or unintentionally. Greenwashing is the term for when a company has made a claim that their organization’s policies, aims, and products are environmentally friendly, when in reality, they are not. Unfortunately, companies may spend more time and investment in promoting this image, than actually minimizing their environmental impact.
New EU Laws to Reduce Greenwashing
The EU Commission has established that environmental claims contain “vague, misleading or unfounded” information. To protect consumers, the EU proposes that new laws need to be put in place that prevent unreliable and unclear statements about environmental efforts.
This should be accomplished by enforcing the following rules:
- Companies have to back up their claims with strict transparency requirements.
- Claims must be verified by an independent third party.
- Authorities will have to enforce regular checks and severe penalties in case of fraud.
This regulation will help separate truthful claims from fiction.
5 Aspects to Consider Planning Your Earth Day Campaigns
Consumers are more alert to claims being made around Earth Day, and they can recognize the difference between action-based claims and greenwashing. Do not lose their trust by paying attention to the following 5 aspects:
- Vague terms and slogans: “sustainable”, “eco-friendly”, “organic”. Give evidence that support these claims to make them credible.
- Get certified: Images of animals, trees, or smiling farmers give us a certain impression of eco-friendly principles. Take a step beyond these vague images and get officially certified, with a certificate from for example “Fair Trade” or “Bio Suisse”. Use the Ecolabel index to find a list of possible certifications.
- Lack of transparency and proof: Communicate claims carefully and provide additional information. Can third-party statements support your claims?
- Holistic approach: Indicate on your website the strategic shift you made to operate in a more environmentally friendly way. Companies need a holistic approach, one initiative or new product is not sufficient.
- A lack of modesty: There is no 100% sustainable solution. Declaring otherwise, indicates a simplistic view of sustainability and the climate crisis.
Excited About Earth Day?
Celebrate this annual effort, also as a consumer, to further achievements and awareness for long-term ecological sustainability by taking the following steps:
- Be conscious and aware of efforts made by brands, companies, institutions, authors, and artists during this time.
- Take responsibility for your consumer habits by supporting businesses with verified sustainability claims and spotting fraudulent efforts.
- Make long-term lifestyle adjustments to reduce your personal environmental footprint
We invite you to read about our Sustainability Journey and how we intend to make Advance Metrics a more conscious marketing agency.