Learning how to avoid greenwashing has never been so important. With more of us becoming interested in sustainability and caring for the environment, we are always looking for new ways to reduce our impact on the planet. There have been some positives and negatives that have resulted from this new demand. On the positive side – many companies have looked for more sustainable ways to produce their products. The negative side - is many (particularly larger companies) have just made changes to their product packaging and marketing campaigns to make it appear that their products are sustainable, when really, they are not, this is called greenwashing.
So firstly - greenwashing is the marketing strategy some companies may adopt, to make their products appear to be more sustainable/greener than they really are. This is very misleading for us as consumers because unless if you do your own research, it can be hard to tell if the company is telling you the truth.
HOW TO SPOT GREENWASHING TACTICS?
Here are KEEPER Denim’s top 5 things to look for when trying to spot greenwashing tactics:
- NEW LOOK
Often when companies want to look more ‘sustainable’ they launch a rebranding campaign. This typically involves giving their products a new look, including a new logo, website, packaging and a slogan that contains eco-friendly buzz words.
When a company uses greenwashing, they may launch a small new product range claiming it to be sustainable, which might be true. However, they will neglect to mention that the rest of their product ranges are not produced sustainably or consider their impact on the environment.
- NO CERTIFICATIONS
When a brand makes bold claims about how sustainable their product is, make sure to look for third party certifications. These certifications are confirmation that the company and its’ practices have been reviewed by a third party to ensure they meet the necessary requirements.
You may come across words in a company’s marketing campaigns that don’t really mean anything. These terms are vague when they can’t be supported by a third-party certification because there are no minimum requirements to be met. Some examples of these terms may include natural, eco-friendly, or pure - just to name a few.
- IRRELEVANT TERMS
When companies are trying to mislead you, they may claim that a product doesn’t have any harmful ingredients and list these ingredients. A common one is chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) which is a chemical harmful as it depletes the ozone. However, the use of CFC has been banned in over 197 countries globally since the 1980’s, therefore making such a claim is irrelevant.
We hope you found this KEEPER Denim blog post on how to spot greenwashing useful. Next week we will do a follow up blog post on how to avoid greenwashing – that is, how to spot an ethical brand.