What Is Greenwashing and How to Avoid It

Being an eco-conscious consumer in a society that values profit and consumption over environmentally sustainable practices isn’t easy. To add to the chaos, what if the corporations you believed to be “eco-friendly” and “sustainable” weren’t as green as you thought they were? Greenwashing allows companies to capitalize on the popularity of eco-friendly products, while still largely contributing to the ongoing climate change crisis.

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing can show itself in two different ways: the first one encompasses the deceitful marketing tactics that corporations use to appear eco-conscious. The second way can be seen by the way corporations attempt to cover-up their environmental-destruction by supporting green causes. Companies who are genuinely eco-friendly have factual evidence to back up their claims of sustainability. Culprits of greenwashing can easily be detected by looking at how much time and/or money has been spent on marketing tactics rather than their efforts towards being environmentally conscious. Greenwashing is not new, but there has been a recent surge in the past year due to the increase of interest in eco-friendly products.

Tips & Tricks to Avoid Greenwashing!

I have good news for you: falling into the trap of greenwashing is avoidable! For example, brands use vague descriptions such as “biodegradable”, “eco-friendly” and “non-toxic”, to catch the attention of conscious consumers. When you see these types of ambiguous claims, be sure to question them. A good place to begin your research is by simply googling your chosen brands’ track record with environmental sustainability. Environmental activists such as Gaia, whose Instagram handle is @ssustainably, use helpful graphics to point out tips to avoid greenwashing.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by gaia | sustainable fashion (@ssustainably_) on

Additionally, apps like Good On You let you know how ethical your favourite apparel brands are. Blogs such as Going Zero Waste, Ethical Unicorn, and Sacred Cow also have interesting posts about greenwashing!

All in all, greenwashing has taken our consumerist society by storm. This issue has become much larger than the deceitful marketing ploys used to make corporations appear to be socially responsible. Greenwashing reminds us that corporations can continue to cause environmental-destruction without truly being reprimanded for their actions. To prevent yourself from being greenwashed by the brands you trust, avoid eco-friendly advertisements that seem too good to be true and do your homework on the brands you love. Raising awareness about greenwashing is important now more than ever. By educating yourself and those around you on the negative effects of greenwashing, it will help foster a generation of genuinely eco conscious consumers.