Influencers Are Afraid: The Greenwashing Challenge
Recent investigations have revealed a concerning trend - fossil fuel companies are increasingly turning to influencers to promote their brands and products. Leaked internal documents from BP in 2020 shed light on the oil and gas industry's strategic shift. Their aim? To become "more relatable, passionate, and authentic" and gain the trust of younger generations.
As we all know influencers are being paid to promote fossil fuel companies in a variety of ways, including:
Posting sponsored posts on social media
Creating videos and blog posts about the company's green initiatives
Attending events and taking photos with company representatives.
Surely, this creates a problem. Fossil fuel companies are responsible for a significant portion of global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, they are often portrayed as being environmentally friendly in their marketing. This is known as greenwashing. When influencers promote fossil fuel companies, they are essentially helping to spread this misinformation. This can lead people to believe that fossil fuels are not as harmful as they really are, and it can discourage them from taking action to reduce their carbon footprint. There are a number of things that can be done to stop fossil fuel companies from using influencers to greenwash their image:
Influencers can refuse to work with fossil fuel companies. Influencers have a responsibility to be honest and transparent with their followers. If they are approached by a fossil fuel company, they should decline to work with them.
Agencies can refuse to represent influencers who work with fossil fuel companies. Agencies play an important role in connecting influencers with brands. They should use their power to discourage influencers from working with fossil fuel companies.
Regulators can crack down on greenwashing. Regulators should take action to prevent fossil fuel companies from making misleading claims about their environmental record.
It is important to be aware of the ways in which fossil fuel companies are using influencers to greenwash their image. We can all play a role in stopping this by refusing to support influencers who work with fossil fuel companies and by demanding that regulators take action against greenwashing . It's not only fossil fuel companies seeking to partner with influencers to improve their image. Fashion and fast fashion brands are also joining the influencer marketing trend.
It is also important for consumers to be critical of the content that they see online. If you see an influencer promoting a fossil fuel company, ask yourself whether the company is truly committed to environmental protection. Look at the company's track record and see if it is actually investing in renewable energy and reducing its emissions.