Strangely, these same Belgians have little to no confidence that corporations will take sufficient action. Which company can benefit most from unlocking the growth of climate-friendly consumption depends on its climate credibility.
83% of all Belgians thinks that the corporate world should address the threat of the climate crisisProf. Dr. Gino Verleye
“We gotta see it to believe it” is what 81% thinks.
And that’s precisely the problem: our research, led by prof. dr. Gino Verleye (whitepaper), shows that consumers believe less than one in ten campaigns on sustainability.
The government has no faith in what companies have to say either. It even enforces anti-greenwashing rules. These rules define what brands can and cannot say about climate-friendly policy or products.
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Earn credibility: six self-regulating rules.
Credibility obviously defines the effectiveness of climate communication. But how do you earn that credibility as an advertiser?
Bubka to the rescue… With the foundation of ‘CommToZero’. This never seen before coalition within Belgian communication and marketing industries (UBA, ACC, UBA, …) will help advertisers to communicate about sustainability in a clear and correct fashion.
One of the initiatives is the establishment of six self-regulating rules or guidelines that should keep regulators from axing campaigns by Belgian advertisers because they can be seen as greenwashing. This happens more than often elsewhere in Europe. And that smudge on your brand is hard to get rid of.
The six rules in a nutshell:
- Claims must not be likely to mislead, and the basis for them must be clear.
- Marketers must hold robust evidence for all claims likely to be regarded as objective and capable of substantiation.
- You must not omit or hide any important relevant information.
- The full life cycle of the product or service must be taken into account.
- Products compared in marketing communications must meet the same needs or be intended for the same purpose.
A climate promise must be truthful and accurate.
Simply put: if the consumer can interpret your climate promise differently, freely or inaccurately, you need a sharper and truer message.
An example? A fashion brand calls itself a ‘sustainable brand’ because it launched a collection of T-shirts in bio-cotton. This could give consumers the impression that all collections are sustainable as well. If the brand can’t prove that they are, it cannot promise to be a sustainable brand.
Generic promises, such as ‘environmentally friendly’ or ‘natural’ can cause problems. Regulators will wonder what a company means by those words and whether they can be proven with facts. If the claims remain vague, regulators will whether consumers can interpret those claims wrongly and put an end to the campaign.