What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is when a company publicly states that they are environmentally conscious for marketing purposes but actually isn’t making any notable sustainability efforts.

A company may not even be aware that they are greenwashing and may have good intentions, but if they are unable to back up their claims with suitable actions that they are undertaking then they will be greenwashing.

Greenwashing can occur when companies spend more time on promoting that they are environmentally friendly rather than focusing on divising and implementing strategies which make them environmentally friendly and reducing their impact.

How does it cause harm?

A company accused of or proven to have greenwashed can be subjected to the following:

  • Loss of customer trust
  • Subjected to lawsuits due to making false claims
  • Loss of earnings from fewer sales
  • Damaged reputation

How can you avoid greenwashing?

Here are some quick tips for ensuring that you do not greenwash:

  • Do not use fluffy language like eco-friendly or natural unless you can back them up.
  • Look at the business as a whole rather than just a singular product or service they provide e.g. you wouldn’t buy an ‘eco-friendly’ product from a company that has been known to pollute the environment.
  • Do not use images that show the business, product or service as being greener than it actually is.
  • Do not try to green a product that wouldn’t realistically be green i.e. eco-friendly cigarettes.
  • Do not use fabricated claims or data.
  • Do not use endorsements in a false way.
  • Make your claims easy and clear to understand.
  • Compare products or services to similar products or services to avoid confusing people.
  • Implement sustainable practices throughout the business.
  • Be honest about your sustainability measures.

Do you need help with starting your journey to being sustainable? We can help you develop an environmental and sustainability policy and help with implementing realistic and achievable actions.

Interested? Simply contact a member of the team to start your journey.