Looks like we’ve been greenwashed by the biggest corporations in the world.
Greenwashing, or sometimes termed as environmental whitewash is a term used to describe corporate attempts to make the public believe that their products are environment-friendly. In reality, corporations are only trying to clean their image to fill their pockets with “Green Paper”.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a corporate term that was first coined by Jay Westerveld in 1986. It is a process via which the corporate sectors share misleading information about their products of how environmentally sustainable it is, just to increase their PR value. It is like a false promise, that the producer makes and keeps the consumer in the void. Only 12% of their products are environmentally sustainable, the rest of them is hazardous both to health and the environment. But these companies hardly care about ethics and the environment, till they are in profit.
Companies in crime?
Companies like H&M, Unilever, Avon, Lux, Fiji Water, GreenPan, Volkswagen, Charmin Freshmates, BMW, Nestle, Chevy, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Windex, Kauai Coffee, Tide, SeaWorld, Blueland, Rainforest Alliance, Quorn Foods, LEI Electronics, Reynolds American, AJM Packaging Corporation has been accused of not being as environmentally friendly as marketed.
But how do they commit this sin?
The way is pretty simple. These companies can commit this kind of sin very easily by misleading the buyers. Here are some ways you might be getting fooled!
- We as a consumer are easily satisfied and convinced by the green symbol and packaging, Consumers who are in a hurry are unable to do the research and analysis and gain relevant knowledge; instead, they simply believe what these companies claim to do or provide.
- Secondly, these companies advertise and market their products so that they are Eco-friendly and Sustainable, which attracts customers who want to contribute to conserving the environment however their unawareness about this scandal ruins their whole efforts.
- Thirdly, these companies use terms like “100% eco-friendly”, “organic”, “natural”, and “best in class ecology” to make the consumers believe that they cause zero harm to Mother Earth.
- Last but not the least, all these companies tend to sell their products in green packages, i.e, their products have green labeling (which both, directly and indirectly, symbolizes that these products are derived directly from the lap of nature, they are nonhazardous and not harmful to the environment.)
Five quick tips to avoid greenwashing are:
- Never trust misleading information, glamourized claims. Do not get fooled by their tags (like: eco-friendly), jargons, and “green” color.
- Do a bit of research yourself, if you care about nature and if you want to contribute to the conservation journey and live sustainably.
- Be conscious about the symbolic images and advertisement.
- Be alert of the name-calling. Most of the companies keep names that sound similar to that of ‘green’ or ‘nature’. So don’t fall prey to such names.
- Search for the certifications, authenticity, and approvals by WHO or Eco-Label Centers. You can also visit websites such as http://www.ecolabelindex.com/ecolabels/ and https://www.greenerchoices.org/eco-labels/lets to verify facts and figures.
A full green sleeve shirt made of 100 percent organic cotton is claimed by H&M. Wait for a minute people!! Before you could believe this information, did you ever think it would be environmentally sustainable something that takes almost 20,000 liters of water to be produced? Keep your eyes open and refrain from believing in misleading information. The world’s emissions account for 80% of all these firms. Be in charge of a healthy environment. Greenwashing is not a new concept, but it is very essential that greenwashing stop in the 21st century. We need to be aware of what we are responsible for global issues and how we are responsible.