What is Greenwashing?

Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

The Basics

Greenwashing is when a company makes a product seem more eco-friendly, “green”, or sustainable than it really is. This is achieved through marketing and packaging, and leads consumers to believe that a product is doing more good for the planet than it actually is.

Why It’s Bad

Conscious consumers want to choose products that have a positive impact on the environment. They may be looking for products with minimal plastic, eco-friendly packaging, recycled components, or non-toxic chemicals. When companies deceive consumers into thinking their products are more sustainable than they are, they’re betraying their users’ trust and consumers are unknowingly supporting non-environmentally-friendly practices.

How to Spot Greenwashing

  1. Look at ingredients
    Take a peek at the ingredient list or materials list for a product. Does it contain natural fibers like bamboo and cotton, or synthetics like polyester? How about common seasonings, flavors, or fragrances? If you’re unsure about an ingredient, give it a google! Sometimes products use chemical names for common items like salt, but other times those unpronounceable names are oil-based synthetics or harmful cleaning agents.
  2. Find the website
    Take a look at a company’s website to see what their goals are – do they have a mission statement or impact reports detailing where and how their products are made, or what they do with their profits?
  3. Learn about parent companies
    Often, smaller eco-friendly companies will be bought out by larger conglomerates with range of brands – not all of which are eco-friendly. Do a quick internet search of a brand to see if it has been purchased by a larger company, learn what that company’s practices are, and see if they have changed anything about the eco-friendly brand they purchased.
  4. Check for independent verifications
    There’s a whole slew of organizations out there designed to help consumers determine if a product holds their values. Some of these include B Corp, Fair Trade Certified, Leaping Bunny, and websites and apps like Think Dirty that help consumers understand the ingredients in products. While this list isn’t comprehensive, it’s a great jumping off point, and these are well known organizations that many companies collaborate with, and use their easy-to-spot logos on their packaging.

What We’re Doing

Here at Eco Eclectic, we vet all of the brands and products that we stock. We carefully read ingredient labels, mission statements, learn about sourcing, and find information from independent analysts to ensure that every product on our site is truly green. We’re also constantly re-evaluating products to ensure that company policies haven’t changed in a direction we don’t approve of. If a company ever stops meeting our standards, we stop carrying them. Period.

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