The greenwash detectors

The greenwash detectors

It's been hard to move for the coverage of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference – or COP26 – being hosted in Glasgow at the moment by the UK Government.

Alongside the promises, pledges and pleas of policymakers to tackle the climate emergency, brands have been eager to be seen as playing their part too – certainly in the UK.

And so, across multiple platforms and formats, corporate communications and marketing teams have been seeking to persuade us that they're on the side of the angels.

Naturally, social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feature among the platforms used for this promotional push.

And that's where – an initiative whose backers includes the Arts Council England and Ecotricity founder Dale Vince – comes in.

Because Eco-Bot.Net's charge is that “The world needs every company to have business models and practices that are in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. But we are being misled by the advertising and marketing campaigns of those corporations who are most responsible for climate change.”

So for the duration of COP26 – between 31 October and 12 November 2021 – Eco-Bot.Net plans to release data that details the ads and social posts published by brands so the campaign ‘exposes corporate greenwashing influence campaigns on social media via sponsored ads and post content from a wide range of heavy-emission companies and sectors’.

The campaign’s homepage has become a dashboard of data and insight. The forensic scrutiny of climate-friendly claims published by brands during the Conference is made possible by harnessing the analytical and journalistic skills of people distributed throughout the world.

It’s a campaigning tactic that is sure to become more and more widespread in a world of vast sources of published information.

And it’s powerful. In fact, one of the most powerful features is the ability to view the hidden demographic data that brands are using to convince highly targeted groups of people of their green credentials. Take a look at the ‘Greenwashing: Advertisement’ section which is the second row down on the homepage.

The lesson for brands? Be truthful.