Banks and financial services are regularly lambasted for greenwashing

It’s no longer enough to slap a #sustainable hashtag at the end of a social post or announce a net zero strategy without going deep into details.

Everything you put out demands impact, urgency and emotion. Especially in today’s green washing and green hushing climate.

‘Greenhouse effect’ to ‘climate emergency’: what’s changed?

The way we talk about the planet has changed. What once used to be the ‘greenhouse effect’ is now a ‘climate emergency’. The language we use today mostly falls into two camps: jargon or emotive language.

And your camp reflects – no, reveals – your views. That’s why the story of climate change differs drastically depending on who you talk to about it.

Financial firms feel confused, and closely watched as consumers demand more climate action

Businesses try to find a middle ground between emotional narratives and political ones. But often it means filling their comms with hesitant language, vague strategies and sit-on-the-fence sentiments.

Staying neutral does nothing to connect with consumers and scores poorly with the public. Global YouGov data tells us that half of the public across 17 international markets think “financial services ought to be doing more to help tackle climate change”.

And there’s a spotlight that’s not going away. World Wildlife Fund’s UK chief, Tanya Steele, says: “Trying to set a path to net-zero emissions without tackling the UK financial sector is like sticking a plaster when the patient needs open heart surgery.”

Do actions speak louder than words?

According to NatWest Bank:

  • Half of UK’s small to medium enterprises (SME) have switched to UK suppliers to minimise their carbon footprint.
  • Almost a third have switched to suppliers with environmental credentials.
  • Three quarters plan to re-shore some of their supply chain within the next five years.

But did you know that before reading it?

Actions speak better with words

You can’t have one without the other in business. Both are equally essential. The challenge: getting them right in tandem.

Learn how to write about environmental matters in 60 minutes

Work in reverse. Get your walk steadied before talking your talk. And use language that doesn’t just tell people what you’re doing but shows them that you care.

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