The green movement has become somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand, the more people who jump on board with conscious consumerism only benefits our environment and society. However, this also means that businesses have picked up on the concept that marketing as an eco-friendly brand potentially means higher sales.
Hence why we’re now dealing with the issue of greenwashing, a deceptive marketing strategy to trick consumers into thinking a company is environmentally aware and, therefore, the “ethical” option against its competitors.
If this is your first time hearing of greenwashing, know that you’re not alone! It can take people months to figure out what greenwashing looks like and how to avoid it. That’s why we’re here to give you a few tips and tricks on how to spot common greenwashing techniques!
Don’t Fall For Packaging
If you’re a sucker for pretty packaging (aren’t we all?), then you might be more susceptible to falling into the trap of greenwashing! Since brands do their research on consumer behaviour, they’re aware of the important role that their packaging plays.
Just because the packaging is green, has images of nature or animals, it doesn’t mean that it’s sustainable! For some reason, our brains associate anything involving nature with the idea that it’s eco-friendly.
Don’t get us wrong; the packaging might have all of the above and it can also be sustainable. The key is to look for products wrapped in minimal and recyclable packaging to decipher between greenwashing and actual sustainability.
Beware of Fluffy Language
Marketing language might be the most deceptive of all greenwashing techniques. For example, “all-natural” is one of the most common phrases to put on food products to trick the consumer into thinking it’s a healthy option.
In reality, something like “all-natural” is far too vague of a claim for anyone to know what that really means. When it comes to clothes, fast fashion brands are guilty of this as well.
Common greenwashing words that are used in the fashion industry include “conscious,” “green,” or even “sustainable,” yet there’s no proof to support these claims.
As you probably know by now, slow and ethical fashion production cannot offer the lowest prices. A good way to spot a potential greenwashing brand is to look at the price. Make sure the price makes sense for it to be made sustainability with ethical practices, all while allowing the company to make a profit.
After all, no business works if they don’t make any money, right? With that being said, the price of a sustainable product should reflect fair wages, ethical production, and quality materials that will last.
Do Your Research on the Company
It’s easy to market a brand to be sustainable or eco-friendly, but it’s much harder to prove it. As a consumer, you deserve more than just false claims and deceiving packaging.
If you’re choosing to support a brand, especially one that’s supposed to be helping you make conscious purchases, then it’s important to know what makes them good for the planet.
Any genuine brand will be transparent in its production, business practices, and materials used to make their products. Take a look at their “about us” page on their website, or you can even use the Good On You rating system as a way to double-check.
Trust Your Instincts
At the end of the day, always trust your instincts! We usually fall victim to greenwashing because we want to believe what the brand tells us, not because we’re blind to marketing scams.
While it’s unfortunate that we have to shop with skepticism, each industry is making progress towards demanding more from companies. After all, most businesses aim to meet the consumer’s needs and wants. The more we avoid greenwashing brands and support genuine ones, the closer we’ll be towards creating a sustainable and earth-friendly future!
- The Woron Team