How to Spot Greenwashing? A Guide to Sustainable Living

Money making is becoming the topmost priority of people. Because the primary goal of businesses and brands has remained confined to boosting lucrative activities only, that's one of the significant reasons why greenwashing is getting very common.

On the other hand, environment-conscious consumers always look for products labelled as eco-friendly. But all their efforts to purchase items made specially to save the environment from future disasters might not be beneficial for the planet actually. Sounds insane? Well, it can be a false illusion created by the shady strategies of various brands just to maximize their income is the buzzword today.

So, what is greenwashing? How do spot and avoid it? A guide to sustainable living.

What Is Greenwashing?

“Greenwashing" is a company's ploy designed to mislead the consumers by making false promises that their products are more sustainable and environmental friendly than actually, they are. The primary aim is to compel people to think their organization is taking critical steps and measures to save the planet even if the reality is the opposite to it.

We are bombarded with thousands of business messages every day. Making a wrong decision is not detrimental to the environment only, but it affects your bank balance as well.

Misleading product descriptions, labels and adverts are the real culprits. Due to this, most companies lose consumers' trust when they find out their purchases are not actually worth buying.

How To Identify Greenwashing? 7 Effective Ways To Spot It

It's challenging to recognize whether the brand is doing greenwashing or not. Here we are listing 7 effective ways to identify the matter of crux.

Vague Statements

Brands mislead their consumers through vague statements and fluffy language. They use terms that hold no apparent meaning to show their products are sustainable and reliable, but in reality, they are not.

Infusion Of Natural Images

Appearance is always deceptive. Inclusion of trees, water or blue skies photographs etc., are the most popular and classic techniques to reflect their objects as environmental friendly. In contrast, green products utilize simple pictures and plain packaging.

Fishy Product Description

When you check the product label, description or information on the website and find no clear evidence, be conscious. A company should be transparent with its practices and claims.

Why are they hiding their ingredients? Is there something fishy? Brands that thrive on gaining consumer trust and working hard to attain sustainability don't have anything to hide.

No Proof For Their Claims

The claim that is not backed up with any proof is also misleading. Like, if the brand says their objects are naturally fabricated, then look out for the evidence that supports their argument. For example, the formation of skincare products from naturally obtained ingredients or utilizing a paper from a well-managed forest must contain specific proof for clear validation.

It is often verified through certifications or endorsement by a third party. 

Steer Clear Messages

Green products should be clear about their messages. If they use the word recycle, biodegradable or something related to environmental friendly, then it should be mentioned whether it is about the packaging, product or specific part.

For instance, if the plastic toy is referred to as recyclable, then the owner must ensure and validate their consumer about which part he is talking about; packaging, whole toy or minor area only.

Exaggerated Phrases

Marketers sometimes use phrases to exaggerate their product's technically correct advantage but not as much benefited as advertised. Statement like, “A naturally fabricated shirt with a 2 to 3 percent garment increased is recyclable.” Right, but the benefit is exaggerated and will create a skewed perception regarding the cloth.

Irrelevant Information Or Promise

Sometimes, a consumer comes across a brand that mentions that their product is free from certain chemicals or ingredients that are actually banned worldwide. As CFCs are already restricted. So there is no point in mentioning that CFC-free or it is not used on the packaging.

Best Practices To Avoid Greenwashing

Sometimes, a brand runs a marketing strategy very cleverly. What if you find out that the product is dangerous to the soil after purchasing? Try to do primary research to avoid greenwashing at any cost.

Read Online Reviews

Most e-commerce websites provide the facility of a feedback portal once the product is purchased. Plus point is reviews are visible to all internet users. Before putting your hands down on any green-label product, read personal opinions and recommendations on the feedback portal. With a little bit of effort, you'll figure out whether the product is suitable for the environment or not.

Ask questions

Don't feel hesitant to ask a question. As you are conscious of the environment, it is your right to configure is it the right product to invest in or not.

Utilize Reliable Resources

It's essential to keep yourself up to date. Read out the books and articles that can aid in pursuing your eco journey smoothly.

Look For Lesser Of Two Evils Concept

It means the promotion of reliable aspects of harmful products. Or it is an attempt of one company to outrank itself over its competitor by labializing itself as “greener” even if the industry is not sustainable.

Green marketing Vs Greenwashing

Green marketing is totally opposite to greenwashing. It refers to eco-friendly decisions that the companies actually take to provide green products to the community.

It's practical, honest and transparent. Their products meet the following criteria:

  • Fabrication of products sustainably.
  • Free from toxic and harmful substances.
  • Products are recyclable or obtained from recycling resources.
  • Use minimal packaging.
  • Ingredients are biodegradable or reusable.

Final Verdict

Alright! Time to wrap up. It's essential to keep the environment clean. Otherwise, it will get contaminated and lead to the expiration of living organisms.

Instead of concentrating on profit maximization only, companies should focus more on offering sustainable recycled products without infusing deceptive and disguised strategies.

We hope you are educated enough to answer a quest “how to spot greenwashing?” without diving into the intensive brainstorming. If you have something in your mind, share it with us. We’d love to listen. 


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