Innocent becomes latest brand to be accused of greenwashing by climate activists

The ‘Little Drinks, Big Dreams’ campaign was designed to remind ‘a new generation of drinkers’ about Innocent’s social drive

Innocent Drinks has become the latest brand to fall foul of climate activists.

Direct action group Plastic Rebellion has accused the brand of greenwashing in its ‘Little Drinks, Big Dreams’ marketing drive.

In the spot, which has since been removed from the brand’s YouTube channel, cartoon characters sing of the dangers of “messing up the planet” before beginning to clean up rubbish in an effort to “fix up the planet.”

At the time, Kirsty Hunter, Innocent’s marketing director, said the brand hopes the ad would turn consumers into “recycling activists,” but Plastic Rebellion argue it is misleading to suggest that purchasing single-use plastic (as Innocent drinks use) does not have an adverse effect on the environment.

Innocent – often touted as ‘the original purpose-driven drinks brand’ – is owned by Coca-Cola, which was recently found to be in the top three of the world’s biggest corporate plastic polluters according to Break Free From Plastic’s 2021 global brand audit report.

Matt Palmer of Plastics Rebellion said: “Greenwashing is dangerous – in the case of Innocent it’s one thing to hide your ecocidal practices, that’s bad enough, but to go to the next level and pretend you’re ‘fixing up the planet’ is far worse. It means that people will willingly – and unwittingly – opt in to support your project in the belief that they are doing good for the planet.”

The activist group has now lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which recently tightened up its advertising regulations on environmental comms, alongside the CMA’s Green Claims Code, which came into effect at the start of this year.

Brands such as Alpro and Oatly have been among the first to fall foul of the new guidelines, with a verdict on Innocent’s campaign expected imminently.

The Drum reached out to Innocent for comment but had received no response at the time of writing.