Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Green talk must not be full of rubbish

As retailers, we’re all familiar with the term ‘brand speak’. It is the personality our products exude when we want them to talk to consumers at an emotional as well as rational level.

. However, the increasing focus on climate change, responsible sourcing and sustainable products is presenting a communications challenge for many retailers.

Consumers old enough to remember the 1980s will be familiar with ‘green wash’ and will see through any attempt to make over-worthy statements about a brand’s eco credentials. Younger consumers are generally more “savvy” about eco trends and are not afraid to contest what they see or hear.

Historically, corporate and social responsibility (CSR) communications have focused on companies’ annual statements. Communicating CSR as part of the brand is a new ball game, and responsibility is passing from CSR practitioners to brand managers.

So here’s the challenge – communicate your brand or product’s green credentials without seeming preachy, superficial or simply jumping on the bandwagon. In the past, this has led many to keep their heads beneath the parapet. But with the proliferation of CSR messages, brands can no longer afford to be meek.

The most successful CSR communications apply some of the following principles: use the same voice as other brand communications; communicate CSR credentials alongside other product virtues, such as quality and value; avoid token images of nature, unless it is directly relevant; don’t preach; and finally, encourage consumers to take action as a personal choice.

Nicky Amos is a consultant and the former headof corporate responsibility at The Body Shop www.nicky-amos.co.uk.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.