What On Earth Is Greenwashing?

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Hello Lovely Blossoms,

Have you ever heard the term "greenwashing"?, if you haven't fear not... I also only recently learned about this and thought that it is important that all consumers be more aware about the products we buy.

So besides greenwashing not being linked in any way to washing green things, the word can be confusing since, at first glance I thought it was something good...but in essence, greenwashing is the strategy that is used to mislead the consumer into thinking that a specific brand is sustainable or more environmentally friendly than it actually is. The sad truth about this is that some companies spend a lot more effort, time and funds into making you believe that the brand is eco-friendly than they actually invest in making sure the product is rightfully so.

To me this was so important to share to make you aware of what is happening and opening your eyes in a way to tell the difference, although some companies make it especially difficult to distinguish between the truth and a lie. In this regard knowledge is your best weapon to have in hand.

Since I am also relatively new to this, I have made a list of 5 things to help guide you to know when you are dealing with a product that is meant to greenwash you:

  1. The proof is in the pudding - When you have a specific brand that you love and on their labels and advertising they claim to be environmentally friendly or sustainable, but nowhere on their website or even a shred of research points to these claims or can back any evidence up then the chances are very good that they are not truthful.

  2. Wordplay labels - Some companies will use general wording that is open for discussion to what the phrases might mean. For instance, brands use "all natural" on their labels, but this is such a misrepresentation and vague definition. By saying something is all natural does not constitute that it is automatically natural and "good" for the environment.

  3. Actual truths but wrong context - sometimes brands will create a focus on an element they have seemingly erased from their product to come across more eco-friendly but in actual fact the element may have been banned or out of use for several years but they just draw your attention to this to make it seem more sustainable and as if they are contributing to the environment.

  4. Less bad but still bad - There are time brands try and persuade you that they are changing for the better by adding something good to the product to make you think it is now more sustainable but in fact it is still a bad product. For instance saying a bottle is now BPA free but it is still a plastic bottle that will take more than a few hundred years to bio degrade, or saying a cigarette is now organic but it remains a cigarette.

  5. Image distortions - Simply placing a green leaf or a picture of the earth, using minimalist of plain packaging to create the illusion that they are environmentally conscious.

There are so many things to look out for these days, companies can so easily manipulate your perceptions and way of thinking around a product simply by repackaging and rewording their brand. The best thing you can do to educate yourself is to do research upon research of a new product or even on the ones you love. You will be shocked about what truths you might learn.

I am not out to smear any specific name or brand, I leave this up to you to do your own research, not only because things could get complicated when you shine light on specific brands but also because starting a journey to be more sustainable can be overwhelming in itself already, so throwing all this information at you might just be too much. My advice would be to start slowly, start with something you are comfortable with and when you master it add something to your list until you get to the point where you can confidently sit and do research regarding the brands that you purchase. Remember that every small step in the right direction is rewarding.

There are always brands that are actually striving to do the right thing and are truthful in their product explanations and processes. These are the companies you want to support because they are the ones making a difference.

Be wary, be prepared and empower yourself with information and knowledge!

Until next time, be blessed.

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