Greenwashing is a marketing ploy deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization’s products, aims and policies are more environmentally friendly than they actually are. In other words greenwashing is used to convince and mislead consumers to invest their money in a product that is supposedly made with the good of the environment in mind.

Greenwashing is a play on the term “whitewashing”, which means using misleading information to gloss over bad behaviour.

Companies involved in greenwashing behaviour might make claims that their products are from recycled materials, have energy-saving benefits or are made by people who enjoy good working conditions. Although some of these claims might be true, companies engaged in greenwashing typically exaggerate their claims or the benefits in an attempt to mislead consumers.

The ethical and sustainable industry, especially in regards to ethical and sustainable fashion, is on the rise and several businesses try to take advantage of this growing market. Greenwashing targets those consumers who are looking for sustainable products and are trying to make positive changes in their daily life through buying and living more responsibly.

To avoid greenwashing the best thing you can do is doing your own research. The companies dedicated to sustainability will be happy to share this with their customers.  Sustainable businesses will not only implement sustainability into their products but also into the process in which their products are made and sometimes even in the packaging they use.

Labels and symbols can help you in your search of responsible companies but are not always the way to go. A lot of small businesses for example are not able to meet the required standards or have the necessary means to obtain legitimate certifications. On the other hand, companies can use unofficial symbols  just to make it look like they are investing in sustainability. If labels and symbols are being used it is important to make sure they are given by legitimate organizations.

Key takeaways

  • Greenwashing is used as a way to capitalize on the growing demand for ethical or environmentally sound products.
  • Labels and symbols can be good indicators but make sure that these are given by legitimate organizations.
  • Genuinely green products will back up their claims with facts and details.

If companies consistently get bad product reviews or are not showing any signs of acting in an ethical or sustainable way, it is best to keep looking around for your desired product. In the end, you are the consumer so you hold the power to choose where you put your money and which companies you want to support.