THURSDAY 14 OCT 2021 10:10 AM


Research from the Charted Institute of Marketing has revealed that half of markets are hesitant to work on sustainability campaigns due to fears around greenwashing accusations.

There has been an industry wide tightening of restrictions around sustainability communications with the introduction of new regulations including the Competition and Markets Authority’s Green Claims Code.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CMI) surveyed 200 marketing professionals to assess current attitudes towards sustainability campaigning. It found that while over half of marketers’ companies and clients recognise sustainability as a business priority, 40% admit they do not have the marketing qualifications relations to sustainability.

Despite this critical skills gap, 76% of marketers say they have been involved in sustainability work in the last five years. A further 45% said they feel under pressure in their role to communicate their company or clients’ sustainability credentials.

Gemma Butler, marketing director and expert in sustainable marketing at CIM says, “We feel passionately that marketers should not shy away from communicating on their sustainability credentials out of fear of being labelled as ‘greenwashing’. If anything, it should encourage them to upskill immediately, so they have the tools and knowledge to feed into effective sustainability-led organisational strategies - after all, the environmental challenge will only get worse if we don’t start taking decisive and collaborative action to change the path we are on.”

The CMI also surveyed 2,000 UK consumers to better understand external expectations around sustainability. It revealed that 63% of adults agree brands should increase communications around the sustainability of their products and services. Greenwashing remains a prevalent issue with 63% of consumers reporting to believe many brands only get involved with sustainability for commercial reasons rather than true ethical purpose.

“Every marketer should remind themselves that their job is not just about driving click-throughs or marketing a product. They are in a unique position to influence social change, mediating the relationship between brands and their customers. They should act as a catalyst for positive change and have an important role to play in making sure that brands have sustainability high up on the priority list,” adds Butler.