Coles’ and Woolworths’ collectables campaigns are a reminder to stop the greenwashing

Odette Barry from Odette & Co questions why we continue to permit the likes of Coles and Woolies to commit lazy and brazen greenwashing when conscious consumerism is on the rise.

Coles and Woolworths are playing upon human weakness instead of strength with their brazen greenwashing through their respective Little Shop and Lion King collectables campaigns.

Instead of actually being sustainable, the supermarkets are concerning themselves with how they can appear to be more sustainable. What was all the fanfare surrounding banning the bag if it was only to be followed by a parade of tiny plastic figurines? These misguided campaigns are only feeding rising, plastic-choked oceans.

Coles’ Little Shop campaign is “brazen” greenwashing, explains Odette Barry

And, as communications professionals, we are gatekeepers of the message. When strategy is pushed up the food chain, we have every opportunity to question the impact of our work on the environment, people and our community.

We need to take action.

Because big corporations laugh in the face of greenwashing, launching plastic campaigns while donating to charities like Clean Up Australia. Money can’t buy back the waste they create and consumers are waking up to this.

In 2019, it’s no longer enough for a business to simply offset the harm it is doing by planting a tree. Consumers, and the planet itself, can see through the sheer veil of greenwashing. It’s time we all stepped up and demanded to work with brands that advocate for the climate through every decision across every facet of the business.

So here’s what we must do: embed ethical decision making into each step of business development, from product ideation through to marketing campaigns. How will this effect the planet? Is there a better way we can achieve our outcome? Have we balanced the priorities of people, planet and profit?

We don’t have to be perfect, it’s progress over perfection in this game. But we must all at least pause to reflect on how we can be and do better.

We can also create change as communicators in our own studios. It’s crucial to me that the companies I partner with behave in a way that has the welfare of the general public in their best interest.

Sometimes, the prospect of implementing meaningful change is daunting. It can be enough to send the bravest of us running for the hills. But often, the solutions you need are actually quite simple. It’s a matter of prioritising and building from the ground up, expanding from the inside out.

Incremental, honest change.

One strategy at a time.

Odette Barry is the founder and director of digital marketing and PR agency Odette & Co


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