What is Greenwashing
and how to avoid it?
So many industries are jumping on the trending rise of eco-conscious consumers. They spin eco messaging and products to make it appear they have eco-credentials at their core. Sadly, this isn’t always the case.
Greenwashing can mislead consumers into making a false purchase. This can cause more damage when wanting to source eco-friendly products or services. So, what is greenwashing and how can you avoid it?
Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of greenwashing (or to greenwash) is “to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is”. This means some companies go above and beyond to make their brand look eco-conscious when the truth is quite the opposite.
Greenwashing is used in our own industry. For example, a popular album supplier uses the product name ‘eco velvet’ in their cover range, misleading customers into thinking it’s eco-friendly. When the company was approached to explain what made the product eco-friendly, it came to light it meant the item was economically priced.
We’ve seen another high profile album manufacturer with a feature page on sustainability. However, when asked to detail their credentials they refused to take responsibility for the materials from suppliers (which are not sustainable).
So, how do you look out for greenwashing? How are you supposed to know if a company is being honest with you? Here are 3 things to look out for.
1. Vague Language
Is the company you’re looking at using vague language? Do they use the word “eco” without going into detail? Do they use facts and figures or do they make simple, vague statements with no proof?
2. Hiding Information
Is it easy to find their sustainability status? Do they list their suppliers and energy use? Is information easily available? If you struggle to find details and proof that's your warning sign.
3. Look at the Bigger Picture
A common form of greenwashing in our industry is when a company has a single 'eco product’ but hasn't made efforts to be sustainable throughout its entire business. This may seem appealing however, it can be damaging in the long run.