What is greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a tactic that is used by those with power to cover up their environmentally detrimental practises. It is misleading as they claim that they are eco-friendly and sustainable when in facts that is not correct and they are deceiving those around them. Greenwashing has been happening within the industry for years, brands and companies are wanting to appear that they have this environmental appearance and are more sustainable with purchasing decisions however it is all a lie. It is a clear technique that is used by most companies to distract the consumers when in facts they are causing a lot of damage and harm to the environment. 66% of consumers are happy to pay more for environmentally friendly products therefore brands are wanting to look more suitable when in facts they are the real consumption of environmental issues and climate changes.
Easy steps to spotting greenwashing?
Don't be fooled by the green
Pay attention to the wording
Look for minimal/recyclable packaging
Make sure the claims are verified
Familiarise yourself with the brand before you make the investment
Spotting for greenwashing is not always easy, the mislead wording on the packaging and signs do not actually refer to the product being sustainable. For example with Mcdonald's. In 2019 they had the new growth of paper straws rather than the plastic. These straws were describes as 'Eco-friendly' but in facts these straws are non-recyclable therefore this drive within a greener world is not accurate.
Greenwashing in the real world
Greenwashing is evidently happening within a numerous of brands from fast foods, fashion and the car sector. Looking into a few brands, Volkswagen admitted to cheating in their emissions tests by fitting various vehicles with a defect device. This was undertaken when emissions were getting tested. Yet again another brand that is lying and hiding to us all. Yes it is common for this to happen in a range of brands, but wouldn't you rather purchase an item from a true telling brand? Most brands that are claiming that their plastic packaging is 'eco-friendly and can be recycled' is all a lie. They mislead you in order for you to complete the purchase.
Effects of greenwashing on the environment
Greenwashing is causing a disastrous effect on the environment, it is making us as consumers more likely to purchase the product unknowingly when this service is high polluting, we think we are supporting a green company when in fact we are causing more pollution. Pollution can cause a variety of health outcomes, from respiratory infections, heart diseases and lung cancer. These can come from short o long term exposures and consequently cause issues to us as individuals.
Risks of greenwashing
Purchasing toxic, dangerous and environmentally damaging products without being aware of the risk of these that they are causing to the consumer and the environment.
Threatening your own business, the reputation of green credentials when using unsafe and harmful products is a lie and the lower reputation into the brand the less likely consumers are to purchase from this company.
Losing money on products that are packages and marketed as providing environmental benefits when they do not deliver this.
Putting employees at risk from harmful and corrosive chemicals that are unsafe for this environment.
Law designed for greenwashing
There is now an official law that companies must collect and show their evidence that they are an environmentally sustainable company and this data is required to support these claims to be clear and objective.
As can be seen greenwashing has a negative impact to the contribution of climate change. It is contributing to the long term shifts in temperature and weather issues and therefore causing more damage to our environment. We all want to live in a healthier place where we can feel more fresh air, more happiness and more cleaner. Therefore making ourselves more aware of what brands are doing and their contribution will help on our decision making process and allows us as consumers to stop the cause of pollution and negative climate issues. As a whole stop before your purchase and look deeper than just a sticker or label, look if they are doing what they truly claim.