This time around I've decided to focus on greenwashing, but what is greenwashing and how can it affect our purchasing habits?
Greenwashing is when a company or product misleads consumers by claiming to be environmentally friendly in order to boost their/it's sales, when it is in fact not very environmentally friendly at all. I find it to be an awful practice, it exploits those who wish to be more ecofriendly and our planet, all for a profit.
This claim has become a more regular occurrence now that consumers are more aware of their impacts on the planet and therefore want to reduce their impacts by purchasing from companies or products that are more environmentally friendly.
The problem with companies or products claiming this when they are not is that it can offput people from purchasing true ecofriendly products, as they believe they are being lied to by the companies and products. Also many people do not have the time to research into products or companies fully and therefore can accidentally purchase products that claim to be good for the environment when they are not.
Telling the difference between greenwashing and actual ecofriendly products can be hard, but there are a few ways in which you can try to reduce its impact on you as much as possible.
Firstly, have a delve into their website. Most ecofriendly companies will have all the information you wish to know on their website and will be open with all of their practices.
Secondly, if you're unsure about a product I'd suggest sending the company an email about their products and their claims to being environmentally friendly. Normally, if the company is ecofriendly they should be able to tell you everything you wish to know, about how the product is made, what it contains and how the ways in which the company is reducing its impact on the planet. If they won't tell you then it may be best to avoid the company/product just to be safe.
I thought I would provide some examples of greenwashing to try and help you avoid it.
1. H&M's Conscious range - This is a prime example of greenwashing, a fast-fashion brand who uses up valuable resources to produce 3 billion items of clothing each year all whilst making a profit. This fast-fashion industry helps to shape the throwaway culture, one where clothes that are "in" are made quickly and thrown away just as fast. The fast-fashion industry, despite there greenwashing attempts will never truly be sustainable.
2. Volkswagen emissions scandal - Another great example of greenwashing, telling consumers that their vehicles had lower emissions than they actually had. They managed to get away with it for a while as the cars had devices fitted that during testing would limit the cars emissions, keeping them below emission standards. They were caught when the emissions were tested without a live road testing was taking place, and the cars were fount to actually emit up to 40 times more NOx whilst actually being driven.
3. Starbucks "Straw-less lid" was created in response to increase in demand of the ban of single use plastic straws, however, the lid was found to have more plastic than both the previous lids and straws combined! They have also made the swap to paper straws, even selling flavoured ones which surprise surprise came in plastic packaging.
I hope you've found this blog post helpful, let me know if you've spotted any more examples of greenwashing. As always if you'd like to discuss anything with me or suggest a blog post you would like to see, you are more than welcome to either contact my through my email firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on my instagram @ofatravellingnature.