In recent times go green has gained lots of attention. People are seeking out brands and companies that are environmentally friendly. But the question is how to find out whether the companies are actually environmentally friendly or not, or it’s just an advertisement technique to attack customers. Greenwashing branding something as eco-friendly misleads consumers into thinking they are helping the planet by choosing those products. Customers should try to find out greenwashing.
To spot greenwashing what to look for –
Images of green buzzwords or nature – Phrases such as “eco,” “sustainable,” and “green” are commonly used by companies so that people think that their company is environment-conscious. But the truth is they don’t follow any scientific standard. For example, Alpro Almond milk was also banned for a misleading environmental claim. The ad said the milk was “good for the planet. Your recipe to a healthier planet.” The company said that the ad is referred to plant-based products having a lower environmental impact.
Vague language or false claim – This is the area in which the advertising standards authority receives the most complaints. Some firms already got their ad banned. For example, Ryanair ad claims it was the airline with Europe’s lowest emission without sufficient evidence to support the claim in 2019.
Look out for carbon offsetting – People, businesses, and the government can balance their emissions by finding other ways to remove an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, known as carbon offsetting. But experts say that this is not dealing with cutting emissions. It is a false claim that the companies meet emission targets while continuously pumping emissions into the air.
Hiding information – Fashion brands nowadays are promoting that their clothes are made of sustainable fabrics, but then the rest of their clothing line is damaging to the environment. For example, a company could be environmentally friendly but not consider supply-chain emissions from a coal-powered overseas factory that used to make part of a product.
In a broader range of eco-friendly products – Some companies will advertise environmentally friendly products but will omit information about the impact of their other products. For example, the food company Quorn’s one ad got banned because it involved the way carbon was certified for one of their product. A lack of transparency is a critical indicator that the company doesn’t have a wholly positive environmental impact.
Check companies ownership – Large firms with a high environmental impact have often bought smaller brands to target environmentally conscious customers. It is essential to know who the company’s ultimate owner is if the entire environmental impact of the company has to be understood.
The product and the packaging are recyclable – Sometimes, recycling labels can be seen on products, but in reality, they are difficult to recycle. For example, Mc Donald’s, in the year 2018, announced it was going to get rid of single-use plastic straws in its restaurants and use a paper straw. But the following year, it was accused of greenwashing because the staw it was using was not recyclable.