During my talks and workshops I talk about many environmental and social issues we are facing currently in our time. Among them there is greenwashing.
But, what is it exactly? The term can be misleading, cause it sounds like some kind of eco-friendly laundry method or something. It sounds like a positive thing, doesn't it?
However - and unfortunately - it is not.
Greenwashing is a marketing strategy used by companies to create the illusion that the company or a certain product is environmentally friendly, without genuinely committing themselves to sustainability. Unfortunately, it’s a new trend, due to the consumers’ demand for more sustainable products. There’s this growing need to meet this new eco trend, to portray a company as active for a sustainable development, even when it’s not so.
So they use expressions like “eco-friendly”, “sustainable”, “bio”, “green”, “made with natural products”, and so on, because there is no legislation that regulates this.
Well now... How not to be deceived by it?
- Check out what the product is made of: read the label and see if it has toxic, harmful chemicals. A product can be made with an actual banana and then have loads of toxic substances in it.
- Check out the labels they use for certification: some are fake. The ones saying “100% eco-friendly”, “100% pure”, “certified”, “100% recycled”, “100% organic”, and so on..
- Notice the packaging: is it recyclable, made out of recycled materials, compostable? If not, can they really say they are committed to the cause though? Nope…
- Research about the brand and the company: are they really involved in the fight? Do they support eco organisations? Do they have an available supply chain report? This even happens with the chocolate industry. (I’ll talk about that another time)
- Use reliable sources to check them out: ewg.org, cosdna.com, B-Corp, Global Organic Textile Standard.
This strategy is misleading people, it’s playing with some people’s emotions making them believe they are doing good.
What about you? Have you been a victim of greenwashing?