Greenwashing. It’s confusing, hard to navigate, and certainly doesn’t involve washing your clothes with green dye. Greenwashing is when a company spends more money, time, and energy on marketing to make sure the public knows they are ‘green,’ than actually working on minimising their environmental impact. Although a green load of washing comes with its problems too, greenwashing comes with even more.
Consumers want to do the right thing, but when greenwashing comes into play, no one knows who to trust! It’s devastating to watch this beautiful wave of conscious consumerism be exploited by money hungry businesses.
If we are clued up on what greenwashing is and aware of how we can successfully avoid being fooled by it, green-washers won’t stand a chance. Find out more on what greenwashing is and how to get clued up on it from Ethically Kate, our expert on how to be eco friendly and avoid greenwashing.
What does greenwashing look like?
You’ve been green-washed the moment you see a green turtle and instantly think the product is amazing for the planet. You’ve also been green-washed the second you hear the word ‘organic’ on an Instagram advertisement and buy 10 ‘organic’ deodorants (without knowing anything else about them), because you want a clear conscience when you swipe your armpits. Although green turtle logos and the word ‘organic’ aren’t bad things, when companies use these marketing tools to mask their polluting or wasteful activities and deliberately mislead their customers, this is greenwashing.
Sometimes greenwashing is completely accidental, but most often it’s a technique companies use to fool conscious consumers and make money instead of making the planet a better place.
Examples of greenwashing
- Eco imagery e.g. a token dolphin or turtle in their logo, or a green font
- Extravagant claims e.g. this product will save the planet
- Vague labels e.g. “certified” without any explanation of the certification
- Distraction strategies e.g. companies encourage consumers to “look at this cool eco-thing” in efforts to mask other environmentally damaging parts of the business