WHAT IS GREENWASHING?
Rising demand for sustainable and ethical practices and products from companies signals a progressive and exciting shift in the minds of consumers. People are now more environmentally conscious than ever and are seeking out brands whose views align with their own.
Some companies however take advantage of the well-intentioned efforts of consumers. Companies appeal to their consumers’ green demands by developing marketing facades that convince their audiences they are operating sustainably without changing any of their practices.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary greenwashing is “designed to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.”
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
Greenwashing can be carried out via several techniques. It is important to know that some companies may not realise they are greenwashing – it may be down to misspeaking or ignorance but often it is
According to Sustainable Jungle, these are the ‘7 deadly sins of Greenwashing’
- Hidden Trade off – Using a narrow definition of ‘green’ – one that highlights a positive whilst ignoring other negative impacts.
- Lack of proof – Making claims that are not easily verifiable by an objective third party.
- Vagueness – Broad, insubstantial or convoluted claims with no explanation. For example, a product may be labelled eco-friendly but what does that really mean? How is it eco-friendly?
- Irrelevance – A true comment that may not actually be applicable to the product or company.
- Lesser of two evils – Highlighting a benefit whilst hiding a greater environmental harm.
- Fibbing – Flat out use of lies.
- Worshipping false labels – Misleading words and images that imply false third-party support.
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?
- – Doesn’t help to further develop sustainable design and innovation
- – Not helping the circular economy
- – Misdirects well intentioned consumers
- – Harms the planet
- – Takes up space where real education and change could be made
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Make sure you do your research properly!
It is unfortunate but there is a lot of misinformation circulating the internet. Taking a little time to research products and brands you are interested in and finding certified third-party opinions can help you make the right choice.
Keep your spirits high, together we can all save the planet by being well informed and making a conscious effort to implement environmentally friendly changes!
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