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Avoiding Greenwashing

Daman Grewal

Avoiding Greenwashing by Daman Grewal on September 16th, 2019

With society increasingly moving towards environmentally conscious habits and desires, more and more brands look to market themselves as being “green”. 

Rather than actually reducing their environmental impact and putting real effort towards creating change, they put more energy and effort into making themselves appear green through superficial means such as misleading labels, flowery messaging and vague declarations of action. 

This does more harm than good to a brand’s reputation, especially in a time where most consumers these days are research savvy. Greenwashing can lead to consumer backlash and result in products and the brand itself being “blacklisted” by consumers. 

It’s easy to avoid greenwashing by backing up words with action:

Avoid General Claims 

Often brands label their products as being “environmentally friendly” or “eco-safe,” but using vague terminology with little to no information is actually being put out, misleads consumers. The FTC actually has no rules against making, generic claims about products but suggests companies should avoid making general claims to maintain your integrity as a brand in the eyes of the consumer. Along with vague claims companies often use imagery such as the Earth or nature centered imaging on labels, suggesting the product is more green or environmentally friendly than it actually is. 

Seek Seals of Approval

Any mark of approval from Environmental officials in the form of a seal and or certification on your product is a great way to solidify legitimacy as a brand and “green claims”. Outside of seals, seeking approval from environmentally enthusiastic bloggers and influencers is also a great way to position yourself as a “green brand”. 

Actively Support Green Initiatives 

Taking it a step further by starting up internal company green initiatives (composting bins, readily available recycling bins, bicycle storage, company car-pools). Publicly supporting green charities and policies is also a great way to bolster your reputation as a “green brand”. 

Green labeling can be a risk, it’s helpful to take every step to prevent misleading, flat out lying or covering up environmentally damaging actions through disingenuous efforts, not only does it prevent harming your brand but prevents harming the environment as well!