Companies are tricking you with Greenwashing
Posted On March 8, 2023
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a marketing tactic that makes misleading claims about the environmental benefits of products or services. This dishonest tactic is used to appeal to consumers who are looking for environmentally friendly options.
Companies may use vague or undefined terms such as “natural” or “eco-friendly” without any real substance behind these claims. They may also exaggerate the environmental benefits of their products or services, such as claiming that their product is “100% biodegradable” when it is not.
It is crucial for consumers to be aware of greenwashing tactics and to do their own research when evaluating a company’s environmental claims. However, it’s not fair for consumers to meticulously research claims. Instead, companies should be required to be transparent about their claims.
What can we do to fight against Greenwashing?
Look for third-party certifications or labels that indicate a product meets specific environmental standards.
- Energy Star: A joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that certifies energy-efficient products.
- USDA Organic: A certification program for agricultural products that meet strict environmental sustainability and animal welfare standards.
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): A certification program for wood and paper products from sustainable, responsibly managed forests.
- Fair Trade Certified: A certification program for products produced in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, with fair wages and safe working conditions for workers.
Do research on a company’s environmental claims and track record
In addition to looking for third-party certifications and labels listed above, other ways to investigate companies’ claims are to
- Research the company’s sustainability practices and track records, such as using renewable energy and reducing waste and emissions.
- Check whether they support social and environmental causes and the length and intensity of their support. For example, whether it is a one-time donation versus a long-term collaboration with a non-profit.
It’s also important to be skeptical of vague or unsubstantiated claims and to look for specific details and evidence to support a company’s sustainability claims.
Support companies that are transparent and honest about their environmental impact
By supporting companies that are transparent and honest about their environmental impact, we are supporting and rewarding this behavior which can help put pressure on other companies to do better.
Advocate for stronger regulations and standards to prevent greenwashing.
One of the key benefits of implementing stronger regulations and standards is the legal requirements they can impose on companies. More robust regulations and standards can promote more honest and accurate labeling practices. By establishing clear definitions for terms like “green,” “eco-friendly,” and “sustainable,” companies can be prevented from making vague or exaggerated claims that are difficult to substantiate. This can help consumers make more informed decisions about the products they purchase and create a more level playing field for companies genuinely committed to sustainability.
Reduce consumption and opt for more sustainable and environmentally friendly options.
Often, the most sustainable option is not purchasing anything at all. However, if you need to purchase, it is best to choose sustainable and eco-friendly options from companies or brands that are honest about their impacts.
Spread awareness about greenwashing and encourage others to be vigilant in evaluating environmental claims.
Do your part to educate others on greenwashing and how to avoid it.
Fight against Greenwashing
At OSN, we strive to alleviate the burden on customers of having to determine whether they are being greenwashed. We aim to provide transparent and honest information about the environmental impact of products to empower consumers to make informed choices.
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