Unilever urges influencers to promote sustainability despite greenwashing fears

Consumer goods giant Unilever is urging influencers and content creators to promote sustainability despite fears of being accused of greenwashing.

The company has now created a ‘coalition of content creators’ to boost social media coverage of sustainability, following a study which revealed that content creators are holding back on promoting sustainability amid greenwashing fears.

The research found more than three-quarters (76%) of those surveyed would like to mention sustainability more in their content, while a clear majority (86%) are holding back from talking about environmental concerns – largely in case they are accused of greenwashing.

This hesitation contrasts with the 78% of consumers who claim that content creators have the biggest influence on their green choices and the 60% of content creators who say they want to actively make a positive impact on the environment.

The figures did show some positive trends, with nearly two-thirds (63%) of content creators producing more sustainability-related content this year compared to the previous year, and 76% expressing a desire to create even more in the future.

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However, creators are ultimately holding back, with 38% hesitant due to fears of being accused of greenwashing.

Other barriers include the difficulty of transitioning from their content’s main focus to sustainability, changing perceptions of sustainability, and a lack of sufficient knowledge about key sustainability issues – all receiving 21%.

In addition, 18% expressed concerns about being “cancelled” due to their sustainability-related content.

In response to the survey, Unilever has teamed up with a coalition of partners to create a new Creator Council, aimed at asking brands and agencies to join forces in helping content creators drive sustainable choices.

Partners of the new council include Count Us In and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“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, ” said Unilever chief sustainability officer, Rebecca Marmot.

“But it needs to be informative and meaningful content. Climate Week NYC 2023 is the perfect opportunity to collaborate with others and empower influencers to communicate on the key issues with credibility,” she added.

Creator Council member, doctor and digital influencer Dr Adanna Steinacker added: “It is crucial that brands and creators unite in this mission, dissecting science-backed information into creative storytelling that resonates with the public and influences change on a global scale.”

“With adequate brand support, we can enhance sustainability content on social media, inform our communities accurately, and collectively contribute to a better environment.”

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