There are many things a company will do for more sales, some are intentional and some are an accident. Greenwashing falls into both categories.
Simply put, Greenwashing is when a company markets and claims to be environmentally friendly, but does not put any effort into fulfilling such claims. This leads to distrust from consumers and an unreliable brand.
Don’t be fooled the next time you think you are supporting an eco-friendly brand.
Greenwashing vs. Whitewashing
Companies misleading their customers is nothing new. The term Greenwashing is a play on the word Whitewashing, which is when a company presents biased misleading information to cover something up.
The Pitfalls of Greenwashing
It’s no shocker that brands want to market themselves as a “green” company. McKinsey & Company reported that Gen Zs care about brands and the realities behind them and that seventy percent of their respondents say they try to purchase products from companies they consider ethical. Another report found that seventy-three percent of millennials would spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand.
It’s apparent that more people want to purchase from companies they believe care for the environment. Consequently, companies will try to meet these needs and act as fast as they can. Unfortunately, information about “green living” is still up in the air. Nothing is defined so companies can freely label things as “compostable” or “biodegradable” but forget about where it’s sourced from and how they are packaged. Not enough research and knowledge leads to false labeling, which will have damaging effects on the brand.
Fast social media like Tiktok, Instagram Reels, and Youtube Shorts are quick ways for information to spread. Anyone can post and with so many users, it’s easier now than ever to go viral. Any misinformation or false advertising about a brand these days and you can consider yourself canceled. Companies should be aware of what Greenwashing can do to their reputation.
How to Spot Greenwashing
Stay skeptical, remember that companies are trying to sell you something.
- Don’t be fooled by green and brown packaging. These always give off a more “natural” feeling to seem recyclable, notice if the container itself is still packaged in plastic.
- Look for stamps of approval or third-party certification. Sometimes it can be a green leaf that doesn’t represent anything. A simple google search will tell you the legitimacy.
- Is the company transparent about their sources, where they get it from, how they package it, etc.?
- When you see anything labeled “biodegradable”, “organic”, or “natural”, do your research on the company to see what they mean. Is the information readily available?
Beware of Greenwashing and always do your research!