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Unmasking Deception: Greenwashing Undermines Genuine Sustainability

The alleged big oil greenwashing campaign reportedly supported by their marketing agency, emphasises the detrimental impact of deceptive practices on genuine sustainability efforts. Committed to transparency and authenticity, The Brand Strategy advocates for a paradigm shift in the brand industry, prioritising real, impactful sustainability goals over superficial measures, and empowering consumers to be agents of change through informed choices.

Nov 15, 2023

A fun graphic of a person wearing a tie torso, with a globe as a head. In one hand holding a laptop and the other a magnifying glass. Suggesting from the design sustainability. There are two twinkle stars in the background, otherwise the background is plain. The colours are earthy brown and green mainly.

In an era where sustainability is a non-negotiable aspect of responsible business, we were reminded recently about The Guardian article alleging BP's creation of the "carbon footprint" concept being deeply troubling. What's even more disconcerting is the alleged role played by Ogilvy & Mather – a leading marketing agency – in promoting an illusion of environmental responsibility for the oil giant. As a brand agency committed to placing sustainability at the forefront of all decisions, we at The Brand Strategy find it imperative to identify deceptive practices and emphasise the importance of authentic sustainability efforts.

The allegation by The Guardian that Ogilvy & Mather actively worked to promote the idea that climate change is the fault of individuals rather than major corporations, like those in big oil, is a clear example of why it is not just the polluter that can be at fault but also those that support that business such as their marketing agencies.

As a brand strategy agency, we disapprove of such tactics that not only deflect responsibility but also hinder genuine progress towards a sustainable future. It is essential to call out and critique the actions of the greenwashers in the marketing industry, as they undermine the credibility of the entire advertising and branding community.

The Brand Strategy's Commitment to Genuine Sustainability

At The Brand Strategy, sustainability is not just a buzzword; it is the guiding principle behind all our endeavours. Our commitment is rooted in achieving outcomes that truly matter, both for our clients and for the planet. We believe in transparency, authenticity, and the power of brands to drive positive change. Unlike the approach reported in The Guardian that they allege the large agency took, we firmly reject the notion of greenwashing and actively work towards aligning brands with real, impactful sustainability goals.

Sustainability Beyond Superficial Measures

While it seems big oil and their big corporate agencies may have contributed to the popularisation of the "carbon footprint" concept as a superficial measure of personal impact, we understand that genuine sustainability goes far beyond individual actions. It requires a holistic approach that addresses the systemic issues perpetuated by all industries. Organisations such as The Carbon Literacy Project actively train individuals within corporations to better understand the real impact and ways they can change. Our agency advocates for collective action, urging clients and partners to engage in meaningful initiatives that contribute to lasting change on a broader scale that are fundamentally, integrated into their brand proposition.

Consumers as Agents of Change

Unlike the misleading narrative discussed here, we believe in empowering consumers to make informed choices that align with their values. The availability of sustainable products and services should not be a marketing ploy to land or a distraction but a genuine commitment to ethical practices. We at The Brand Strategy actively collaborate with clients to create campaigns that inspire positive change, identifying the brand potential and encouraging consumers to become agents of change through their purchasing decisions.

In Summary

The reports of Ogilvy & Mather's alleged complicity in BP's alleged greenwashing campaign by The Guardian highlights the need for a paradigm shift in the advertising and branding industry. At The Brand Strategy, we stand firmly against deceptive practices, striving for outcomes that truly matter for both brands and the planet. Let this remain the wake-up call for the industry to prioritise authenticity, transparency, and a genuine commitment to sustainability. Together, as responsible agents of change, we can foster their future brand positioning not only speaks about sustainability but actively contribute to meaningful progress.