With concern about environmental issues growing, more people are looking for sustainable and eco-friendly products. Unfortunately, they’re sometimes running into a practice called “greenwashing.”
So, what is it, and why is greenwashing bad?
In this post, we’ll explain what corporate greenwashing is, the consequences, and what it means for consumers.
The good news? It’s becoming less common as consumers become savvier about it and regulators enforce labeling.
What Is Corporate Greenwashing?
Corporate greenwashing occurs when a company wants to get on the eco-friendly bandwagon without doing the work, so they can sell more products to more people.
Words Like “Pure” and “Natural”
Always on the lookout for a profitable marketing angle, some companies will use words like “pure” or “natural” to make their product sound like it’s good for the environment or sustainable.
Unfortunately, in some cases, it’s just a marketing ploy.
And, when you dig deeper, you discover that the product is not manufactured in a sustainable way, nor is it eco-friendly in itself, even though it may indeed have some natural ingredients or components.
Be Aware of Imaging
Companies will sometimes use natural components in their imaging to give the illusion of an eco-friendly product. For example, the item is photographed in a natural setting outdoors or there are bamboo leaves next to it.
Another practice to watch out for is when a company supports environmental or community causes or organizations, while they don’t follow sustainable practices themselves.
Greenwashing Is Misleading
Products have been greenwashed when they are labeled or presented in such a way as to mislead consumers and encourage them to buy under the impression that the item is environmentally-friendly when it isn’t the case.
Next, we’ll look at the consequences of this practice.
The Consequences of Greenwashing
The obvious negative effect of greenwashing is what it’s doing to the environment. When companies make false or exaggerated claims of being eco-friendly, and people buy the products, they may mistakenly do more harm to the planet’s resources.
Companies Hurt Themselves
And, companies can also harm themselves. If their false or misleading claims are exposed, they may appear dishonest to consumers, which will cost them business and profits.
Consumers care more about environmental practices than ever before and are becoming less tolerant of companies that don’t consider the consequences of their practices and manufacturing.
Next, we’ll look at what greenwashing means for you as a consumer.
Consumers and Greenwashing
As a consumer, you need to be on the lookout for greenwashing. If you want to stick to buying and using sustainable products and services, do your homework and make sure it’s what you’re getting.
Take Time to Check
It’s well worth the extra time it takes to check out whether a company lives up to its claims of being eco-friendly. Don’t just take the marketing images and copywriting at face value.
Consumers Demand More
Fortunately, consumers know more about being environmentally-friendly and demand more from corporations these days.
In Canada, you can find many eco-friendly labels for a large variety of products and manufacturers. Check out the information on the government page for environmental labels and claims.
One company in Canada that does not use greenwashing and is truly eco-friendly in its practices is Tru Earth. They sell eco-friendly laundry detergent and other household and personal products.
Greenwashing is a common practice among corporations looking to influence the buying decisions of consumers. Hopefully, one day soon, it will be a thing of the past as people become more aware and demand more sustainable practices and regulations.