We were lucky enough to have a special guest to interview for our podcast. Professor Steve Brammer, Dean of the School of Management at the University of Bath walks us through the nuances of the corporate and marketing worlds. He specifically focuses on environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility, or lack thereof, in some cases, as we see in greenwashing. Steve explains the concept of decoupling: a phenomenon wherein a company or organization’s actions do not match their stated goals or ambitions. This is extremely applicable in the case of greenwashing. For example, a company might state they are working towards zero carbon emissions, yet they are not completing any actionable change to attain this. It is this lack of follow-through that leaves a company liable to being defined as a “green washer”. This is a concept both organisations and consumers should be mindful of.
Being conscious of decoupling and selective marketing can help us all make better decisions when purchasing products or services. The issue of greenwashing and sustainability can seem daunting; however, Steve’s insight gives us hope for the future. Policymakers can induce change; however, the dilemma is that the current policies in place are not enforced strongly enough to deter unsustainable behaviour. Encouraging ourselves as consumers to make better choices is a great start but pleading to our policymakers for change is the next step. With more awareness around issues like greenwashing, we can help to break ground for the change we need to save our environment in the long term.