‘Greenwashing’ references in the media rise 50% in six months, research finds

The number of stories in the media featuring high profile businesses and brands accused of ‘greenwashing’ has been rising at a staggering rate, according to research the Clearly PR has undertaken. So, what’s driving it? Here’s a snapshot of our findings.

29 February 2024 | 2 min read | Clearly News
Clearly Team

The number of times the term ‘greenwashing’ has appeared in the UK media increased by more than 50 per cent between June and December 2023, according to figures published by Clearly PR.

The agency, which provides reputation management and ESG communications services, found that the number of times ‘greenwashing’ was cited in media outlets increased month-on-month for each of the last six months of 2023:

  • July – 1,942 mentions
  • August – 2,046 mentions
  • September – 2,345 mentions
  • October – 2,380 mentions
  • November – 2,535 mentions
  • December – 2,920 mentions

Using a combination of social and media listening tools, Clearly PR was able to track mentions across all media formats, including newspapers, magazines, and broadcast outlets.

Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, founder and managing director of Clearly PR commented:

“It is astounding to see the number of stories on greenwashing in the media continue to rise.

“Despite widespread consumer condemnation of those brands and businesses who deliberately exaggerate their green credentials for the sake of driving sales and improving perception, a significant number continue to commit what is essentially marketing fraud.

“I believe two things are at play here.

“First, there are some who are fully aware that the claims they make are misleading and cannot be substantiated. And there are those who lack any understanding of what terms such as ‘carbon neutral,’ ‘recyclable,’ or ‘recycled’ actually mean.

“Whatever the reason for it, there is clearly an urgent need for public relations, marketing, and advertising professionals to better understand the messages they seek to communicate in their campaigns and have the confidence that any claim made can be backed up.

The full report can be found on the Clearly PR website. Please click here.

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