Editor’s note: Miriam Konz is EVP of corporate strategy and innovation at AMC Global. 

As sustainability rises in importance for consumers’ decision-making processes, brands must determine how to balance this with cost, performance, taste and the other factors that play strongly into shopping choices. Further, as companies look to implement sustainability practices, the issue of greenwashing has emerged as a significant challenge for brands across many categories. 

Greenwashing – the deceptive practice of misleading people about the environmental benefits of a product – can undermine consumer trust, tarnish brand reputation and hinder progress toward a truly sustainable future. Consumers are skeptical regarding many sustainability claims due to widespread greenwashing, and brands must use care when crafting sustainability innovations and subsequent messaging in order to overcome this skepticism.

Marketing research can help brands combat the reality and perception of greenwashing by gathering the insights needed to form trustworthy sustainability claims. These insights enable brands to demonstrate authenticity, transparency and accountability that rings true for their target audiences. So what is the role of market research in addressing greenwashing concerns and how can insights pave the way for a more sustainable marketplace?

There are various forms of greenwashing out there in the marketplace that the savvy consumer is red-flagging. For example, in the CPG space, this can include vague or misleading labels, unsubstantiated sustainability claims or incomplete information on food and beverage products. Understanding how the messages about a company’s sustainability practices are being interpreted can help with the assessment of practices and messages that require improvement or new communications strategies.

According to the Green Business Bureau, the widespread lack of consumer trust is...