Earth Day 2022 recap: Top brands turn to transparency

May 19th, 2022 | Bella Broccolo

The most impactful Earth Day 2022 campaigns proved how interacting with a brand could mean living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Earth Day 2022 overview

Highlighting quantifiable impact: As consumers grow wary of greenwashing, it is more important than ever for brands to be transparent with their sustainability efforts. Brands that provided data to support their sustainability initiatives were able to mitigate skepticism and educate consumers.

Partnering with organizations: Brands have the opportunity to outsource their reputations with regard to sustainability by partnering with established environmental organizations. Brands that engaged in meaningful partnerships were rewarded with consumer trust.

Creating long terms solutions: Although planting trees to offset carbon emissions carries a positive sentiment, consumers are becoming aware that more is needed from large corporations to enact real change. Brands that took this idea to heart created the most meaningful Earth Day campaigns.

Brands adopted transparency to legitimize their Earth Day 2022 initiatives.

Since sustainability is a topic that often confuses consumers, understanding the impact of Earth Day campaigns and navigating corporate greenwashing* can be overwhelming. Consumers not only turn to brands to absorb the responsibility of sustainability but value campaigns that justify the actions of specific initiatives.

*The term ‘greenwashing’ refers to the tendency of brands to push sustainably through the use of buzzwords as a means to attract consumers without true environmental intent. As consumers become aware of greenwashing, it is more important than ever for brands to prove the legitimacy of their initiatives.

Earth Day marketing eco-systems

With consumer skepticism in mind, brands crafted Earth Day campaigns through a variety of tactics to exemplify their commitment to caring for the planet.

Brands highlighted engagement with environmental organizations to prove their commitment to making an impact.

YouTube’s “Non-Fungible Planet” campaign focuses on how Earth is non-interchangeable. The campaign reminded consumers of environmental organizations that YouTube supports, such as the National Park Foundation and WWF, to help preserve the irreplaceable planet.

Source: Comperemedia Omni [4/1/2021-4/30/2022] as of 5/9/2022, Mintel/Pathmatics [4/1/2021-4/30/2022] as of 5/9/2022

Brands promoted sustainable solutions that extend beyond Earth Month.

In an email, Apple detailed its long-term plan to have the production, shipping, usage, and recycling of all products be carbon neutral by 2030.

Source: Comperemedia Omni [4/1/2022-4/30/2022] as of 5/9/2022

The peak of Earth Day 2022

Samsung soared above other brands and secured ‘best-in-class’ status by seamlessly advertising its environmental initiatives during Earth Month.

Samsung used Earth Day as an opportunity to promote its Re-Newed program. The brand encouraged consumers to purchase refurbished devices over new ones. The offer included a trade-in credit and a discounted watch. Samsung revealed that buying a refurbished phone saves at least 121 lbs. of CO2 emissions.

The call to consumers to make sustainable decisions is not a new concept for Samsung. The brand’s environmental initiatives, including sustainable materials and product recycling, have saved over 300 million metric tons of CO2. To further legitimize their commitment to sustainability, Samsung has partnered with Veritree to plant over 2M trees.

Source: Comperemedia Omni [4/1/2022-4/30/2022] as of 5/9/2022

Grounds for improvement

A few brands relied too much on providing direction to consumers, rather than owning the responsibility of sustainability themselves. In their Earth Day advertising efforts, Freedom Mobile and SunTrust placed the responsibility of sustainability on consumers.

On social media, Freedom Mobile encouraged consumers to recycle their old wires while SunTrust asked to help clean up a local park.

While these posts share a positive sentiment, they’re also examples of greenwashing: instead of showcasing how their brands are looking to make a positive impact, they put all the effort into consumers.

Earth Day is an opportunity to attract consumers with innovative and exciting campaigns – not just a social media post.

Source: Comperemedia Omni [4/1/2022-4/30/2022] as of 5/9/2022
Source: Comperemedia Omni [4/1/2022-4/30/2022] as of 5/9/2022

Predictions for Earth Day 2023

Brands will innovate to prove the effectiveness of their sustainable actions.

Combating doubt through evidence and technology: A focus will be placed on initiatives that can prove the environmental impact of a single action. Companies will find ways to provide hard evidence of their actions to combat fears of greenwashing. The role of technology will be increasingly important in tracking the effectiveness of initiatives and providing consumers with further transparency on the impact of campaigns.

Building legitimacy with a year-round plan: Brands will make sustainability a part of their year-round priorities. Consumers will be more likely to trust brands who clearly highlight long term sustainable initiatives.The transition from Earth Day to Earth Month will be extended to Earth Year. Constant conversation about an environmental initiative will create positive social media attention for a brand.

Bella Broccolo

Bella Broccolo

Bella Broccolo is an Associate Research Analyst with Comperemedia, specializing in omni-channel marketing trends.