Sustainability in 2022
Our latest 2022 report looks at how sustainability intertwines with business and politics, and how it’s important to a brand’s purpose
Tangible actions made by companies
To truly understand how and what companies are making an impact through sustainable initiatives, we looked at three instances where the action was bigger than words.
More and more companies have made pledges to reduce their carbon footprint or have announced other environmental goals, and while on a smaller scale that helps to create a positive reputation around a brand, it’s not always clear how much the planet will actually benefit.
In this section, we’ll discuss how Patagonia, Airbus, and Dodge have generated significant interest in their tangible actions, including the media coverage they received and how it resonated online among the public.
Timeline of actions made by companies in 2022
The biggest and most obvious action made by a brand so far this year happened when Patagonia’s founder announced he would give away the company.
Yvon Chouinard transferred ownership of the company to a charitable foundation and confirmed that all profits would go towards fighting climate change. The reaction to the announcement was massive, both in terms of media and public interest.
A feature story in the New York Times about Chouinard and his decision generated 300k engagements alone, and media coverage overall was overwhelmingly positive.
There was, however, some level of backlash that occurred on Twitter, with accusations of it being a tax-dodging scheme, but that narrative received almost no attention compared to the principal narrative.
Public and media interest to Patagonia giving away company
Politics and sustainability
In this section, we will explore the relationship between politics and sustainability and how policies impact sustainable development.
Examples of this range from decisions made on a federal level, including the Biden administration’s passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Supreme Court EPA ruling, which received a good amount of backlash online.
We’ll also look at individual states that are creating their own policies around sustainability and how they intend to influence on a larger scale.
Timeline of political decisions around sustainability
Inflation Reduction Act
In early August, Senate Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act aimed at fighting climate change and reducing health care costs.
This was the biggest legislative accomplishment of either party in over a decade, and the significance of the bill was apparent in the amount of media and public interest it received online in the days after it was passed.
While the largest peak in interest occurred one day after the Democrat’s win on August 8th, totaling 315k engagements, there was a second major spike on the 16th when Biden officially signed it into law, calling it “the biggest step forward on climate ever.”
More narratives emerged from the passing including wind power in the Gulf of Mexico and electric vehicle tax credits, both earning tens of thousands of engagements.
Public and media interest to Inflation Reduction Act
Greenwashing continues to be a major topic among sustainability discussions, especially because more companies are being criticized for not doing enough.
Since the beginning of this year, there have been nearly 10k articles written about greenwashing and over 233k engagements to them online.
While the biggest spike happened in early October due to a story featuring climate activist Greta Thunberg discussing the issue, several brands have been mentioned in headlines throughout the year.
The most prominent, in terms of public interest, have been focused on big oil companies being accused of greenwashing.
Timeline of engagement to greenwashing in 2022
Discover more insights in the full report
Dive deeper into the data in our full report PDF