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August 2, 2023

Your View: SDG emojis? Sure – but their use should face greenwashing scrutiny

UN global goals
(Image: UN Department of Global Communications)

From Minna Aila, Neste Corporation.

In response to the Editor’s note of August 1, I read with great interest your comments about “loaded emojis” and whether we should emojify the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Emojis do hold power, as they are an efficient and often effective way of communicating. Indeed, some companies already use them to signal their aspirations to support the SDGs, from 

🌍
🌍
🌿
🌿
 for SDG15 or 
🌎
🌎
💦
💦
 for SDG 6.

What happens when those symbols are used by greenwashers, say, as shorthand on marketing material or products’ information? Would they be subject to the proposed EU Green Claims Directive too? Or could a very strict regulation lead to greenhushing – not using words or any other symbol in the fear of greenwashing accusations?

Emojifying your sustainability communications or creating new dedicated emojis for each of the 17 SDGs could spark engagement as a universal language, transcending cultural barriers. If they can inspire collective action, I’m all for embracing them, one emoji at a time.

Equally, anybody using them – as with any other claim – should be held accountable and show tangible actions. And regulators may need to start learning “emoji” too.

 

A service from the Financial Times