Today I'd like to face a topic that seems to be more and more present in today's consumption society. In fact, I notice lots of people are concerned about the environment and try to stand up for the climate by eating vegan, buying organic, cutting down on their meat consumption,... you name it. But the point is that our society is profit-oriented meaning the government, as well as big companies, are taking advantage of this current "trend" by making a new profitable business out of it. Result? Greenwashing.
Do you know that 98% of green-labeled products are actually greenwashed? Insane, right?!
The reason why I decided to cover this topic on Live My Way is simply that I advocate a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing, which obviously implies being aware of what you think you buy.
First, you have to differentiate Greenwashing from Green Marketing.
Greenwashing practices consist of a company spending more money and time pretending to be environmentally-friendly than actually trying to minimize its carbon footprint.
Basically, it's a bunch of green lies to push consumers, us, to buy.
On the contrary, Green Marketing is a real eco-friendly approach to selling products respecting the environment by following certain guidelines (sustainability, free of toxic materials, produced from recycled or renewable materials, no excessive packaging,...). Green marketing is practical, honest and transparent.
It's very important to make the differentiation to buy conscientiously and to favor real green practices.
Want some examples?
The biggest example is the case of Nestlé. Nestlé pretended to use sustainable cocoa beans in its products, but it forgot to mention those cocoa beans came from massive deforestation in West Africa, and that they were grown by the use of child and slave labor. Nice.
Another simple example is a grocery store advertising how green they're with their recycle plastic bags whereas the best thing to do would be to stop offering those bags at all.
Last one, the water industry trying to convince us that they're green using green colors on the packaging of their plastic bottles. What a joke.
How to avoid greenwashed products?
It's pretty cool to know all those facts and examples but what's even cooler is to know how to avoid greenwashing. Let me give you some tips.
There exist 4 different types of greenwashing practices, and once you know them it's easy to avoid greenwashing.
This refers to images, graphic designs, or colors inspiring nature and green aspects, but, in reality, products are not.
#2 Wavy language
When marketers abuse of a vague and unclear language generally through green terminologies that, in the end, mean nothing in particular. Double-check the label to see how eco-friendly it is.
#3 Irrelevant claims
When a company attracts your attention on one tiny green attribute of a product whereas everything else in that product is just not green.
#4 Bait and Switch
Sale tactic when a green product is purpose-built to attract more customers into a store in order to push consumers to buy other products than the initially advertised green one. On top of this charming practice, the rest of the products aren't even eco-friendly.
All of these end up to backfire. We think we consume properly, and that we're doing progress, but we're not.
Be cautious and vigilant, stop buying lies the society tries to sell. Of course, we have to balance things out and not be paranoid. As mentioned in the article, there exist real green products called Green Marketing.
The reality is some brands are more concerned about increasing their demand than fulfilling the motive of their consumers. This results in growing businesses and, consequently, a growing environmental crisis.
That said, hope you'll now be more careful when buying "green" products. Choose wisely and do not let society ruin real green consumerism by not trusting any brands ever again.