cop-out ? noun \ ˈkäp-ˌau̇t

Definition of cop-out  to avoid or neglect problems, responsibilities, or commitments 

In the past couple of weeks how many ads have you heard from various brands talking about their sustainability plans? interesting that many of these ads were run during COP 26…..  

Whether your brand is appealing to consumers or business customers, you should be relevant and more importantly credible. A brand’s credentials need to be backed up by real evidence (in marketing terms, proof points), supporting the brand’s authenticity. If not, you are at risk of ‘brand stretch’ or in layman’s terms ‘jumping on the bandwagon’. Be under no illusion, consumers and businesses are quick to spot when this is happening. 

A recent study by the PRCA and Opinium, Climate Crisis Misinformation, which polled 200 comms professionals, 

  • 60% of PR professionals are concerned that clients are too eager to jump on a bandwagon with a propensity for token gestures talking about the climate crisis, rather than acting  
  • Almost 1/5th said their client’s knowledge of climate change is incorrect or misinformed and that having their clients contribute to the discussion on the climate crisis ‘makes them feel nervous’  
  • And 39% acknowledge that their own knowledge isn’t thorough enough and are therefore reluctant in advising their clients in becoming involved in the issue.   
  • 75% feel that more needs to be done by the industry to tackle misinformation about the climate crisis, and a similar proportion (71 per cent) are providing more advice on the issue than they did five years ago. 

But are clients listening?  

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) also conducted research in September this year, where 

  • Half of the marketing professionals surveyed are fearful of ‘greenwashing’  
  • 40% say that they simply do not have the skills or knowledge needed.  
  • 63% of consumers in the survey said that they want brands to communicate more about their sustainability plans, but at the same time they are highly sceptical,  believing that brands only get involved with sustainability for commercial reasons as opposed to ethical reasons.  

The pressure is clearly on for marketers. How do you ensure that the ‘sustainability directive’ from the board is embedded into the business’s strategy across all functions and not a short term ‘marketing initiative’?  

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently issued some guidance, in the form of the Green Claims Code, which has been designed to hold brands accountable for their sustainability claims. The key principles are that: 

  • claims must be truthful and accurate 
  • claims must be clear and unambiguous 
  • claims must not omit or hide important relevant information 
  • comparisons must be fair and meaningful 
  • claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service 
  • claims must be substantiated 

We think that this video from the CMA sums it up really well.  And their Green Claims Code checklist provides even more detail. 

But who and where are the reliable source of information for marketers on environmental issues? As is commonplace now, social media has muddied the waters and we’re bombarded with loads of statistics, comparisons and forecasts. Making it difficult to figure out fact from fiction.  

During COP26, Adweek magazine have a very interesting blog covering some of the brands and their messaging. Advertising To Save The Earth: The Campaigns of COP26 ( 

It will be interesting to monitor the response to these campaigns and whether they have helped or hindered these brands.  

At The Marketing Bee, we’re ready to help you develop the most appropriate marketing strategy for your business and ensure that your brand remains strong.