Avoid Greenwashing: 7 tips to harness social impact marketing
18 August 2023 - Impact Hub London

Following the successful Environment Talks Event, How to tell your impact story and distinguish yourself from Greenwashing, where we heard from expert entrepreneurs, Camilla Marcus Dew, Head of Ventures at Connection Crew CIC & Rebecca Ghim, Founder & Director at The Ferm, we’ve put together a summary of how businesses harness impact marketing and differentiate themselves from greenwashing.

In today’s world, where environmental consciousness is rising, consumers are increasingly looking for products and services that align with their values. However, with greenwashing rampant across all sectors, distinguishing genuine environmental efforts from false claims has become a challenge. Many businesses use vague and misleading language like ‘green’, ‘natural’, and ‘environmentally friendly’, causing confusion and scepticism among customers.

Amidst this confusion, social enterprises must learn how to effectively tell their impact stories to potential customers, segment their audiences, and select the best channels to reach funders and share their journey towards positive change for people and the planet.

Showcase Your Unique Selling Points

To stand out from the competition, it’s crucial to identify and showcase your unique selling points and environmental commitments. Research your competitors and use the findings to emphasise what sets you apart.

Utilise Certifications and Measurements

In the beginning, startups may not have the resources to obtain prominent certifications. However, there are free certifications available, like SEUK or Bcorp criteria, which can provide credibility and transparency. Additionally, measuring your carbon footprint and positive impacts can be accomplished through free platforms like the SME Climate Hub.

Tailor Your Story to Different Audiences

Understanding your target audience is vital. B2B customers often value the impact of your products but still require a solid commercial message. However, B2C customers may need education about your product’s impact and relevance to environmental issues.

Be Clear and Transparent

Avoid buzzwords and jargon that confuse consumers and contribute to greenwashing. Instead, be clear and transparent about what problems your product or service genuinely addresses and the positive contributions it makes.

Simplify Your Marketing Messages

Environmental issues can be complex, but simplifying your marketing messages can make it easier for consumers to understand your impact. Focus on specific goals with measurable outcomes, such as using “compostable plastic” instead of zero single-use plastics.

Seek Support and Expertise

If you lack the technical expertise to measure and communicate your impact, seek help from organisations and universities that can guide you. Collaborating with experts can strengthen your credibility and add value to your impact story.

Prioritise Integrity and Honesty

Above all, be honest and transparent with your customers. If your product is not yet perfect or doesn’t meet certain environmental standards, communicate your intentions and goals. Customers appreciate honesty, and supporting your journey toward improvement can foster trust and loyalty.

Telling your impact story effectively and distinguishing yourself from greenwashing requires a thoughtful approach. Prioritise transparency, credibility, and authenticity in your communication. 

By showcasing your unique selling points, leveraging certifications and measurements, and understanding your audience’s needs, you can build a compelling impact marketing strategy that resonates with customers, grows your network, and sets your social enterprise on the path to success.