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Unilever calls on influencers to speak up on sustainability as ‘greenhushing’ persists

UnileverUnilever is calling on content creators to speak up about sustainability as it launches a ‘coalition of partners’ to address ‘greenhushing’ concerns.

New research from the FMCG giant reveals that 76% of content creators (or influencers) on social media would like to mention sustainability more in their content, but 84% of them have experienced a barrier that has held them back from doing so.

This could be considered to be greenhushing, the act of keeping quiet about sustainability for fear of a backlash, an area of concern Marketing Week explored earlier this week. We reported that the reputational damage for brands failing to address sustainability effectively could have both moral – and financial – implications.

The rise of ‘greenhushing’: Why are brands going silent about their sustainability efforts?The research reveals that among the barriers of concern for content creators were fears of being accused of ‘greenwashing’, with over a third (38%) of respondents claiming it is holding them back from talking about sustainability. Other concerns include finding it difficult to transition their usual content to green matters, fears that what is considered sustainable now could change, and not feeling educated enough to speak on key issues (all 21%).

Being ‘cancelled’ was also a concern with 18% of respondents worried about the public’s reaction if they were to get sustainability content wrong.

The study also found that over nine in 10 (91%) creators would find greater access to content or resources on sustainability, direct support to ask questions, support dealing with audience comments, and access to training about making trustworthy statements about the environment helpful in making them post more about sustainability.

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One B2B firm on why it stopped being ‘humble’ about sustainability to strengthen its brandTo address this, Unilever, alongside a coalition of partners including sustainability experts from Count Us In, is calling on brands, agencies and technology companies to join forces with them to help content creators drive more sustainable choices through social media content.

This coalition will work to create an industry-wide solution that will bring together social media content creators, non-profits and brands to accelerate accurate sustainability content, built upon science and behaviour change theory to encourage more sustainable behaviours.

Unilever claims they are currently developing a framework and guidelines to ensure the solutions are in line with the very latest climate science.

Unilever’s chief sustainability officer, Rebecca Marmot, said of the initiative: “We know that sustainability content on social media has the potential to drive more sustainable behaviours, with over three quarters of consumers claiming influencers have the biggest impact on their green choices today. But it needs to be informative and meaningful content.

She concluded: “Climate Week NYC 2023 is the perfect opportunity to collaborate with others and empower influencers to communicate on the key issues with credibility.”

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