Third global greenwashing report shows that citizens do not believe sustainability claims
Consumers do not trust companies and most are convinced that they all do greenwashing. This is stated by research by the analysis company Kantar, which for the third year publishes the results of a global survey.
Based on 26,000 interviews worldwide, the report examines the actions of 42 sectors and ranks them. Now in its third edition, the study compares for the first time the perception of consumer sustainability. The data show that the latter put the luxury sector on par with the oil and gas industry in terms of progress on social and environmental issues. At the bottom of the list is the tobacco and electronic cigarette industry. At the top come fruits and vegetables, electric and hybrid cars, vegan products, and protein products as alternatives to meat.
In addition to the perception of sustainability, the research attempts to understand whether consumers feel made fun of by companies’ statements. An interesting picture emerges. Concerns about greenwashing are high: more than half of respondents believe that sustainability brands in all sectors are misleading. The top 5 of the “liars”, according to the sample interviewed, see social media (60%), meat industry (58%), clothing and footwear (57%), automotive (57%), and supermarkets (56%).
On average, confidence is growing in pet food and baby hygiene products. However, there remains a significant percentage of consumers – more than 4 out of 10 – convinced that even for these sectors companies share false or inaccurate information about their sustainability efforts.
The survey reveals a dissonance between consumer intentions and behavior towards sustainability. It’s called a “value action gap”. The largest discrepancy exists for the oil and gas (66%) and clothing and footwear (63%) industries. But that also depends on the poor, cheap alternatives that people have to adopt more sustainable behavior. As long as polluting industries remain over-subsidized and ecological supply chains are underdeveloped, it is difficult for a low-to-medium-income consumer to equate attitudes and behavior.