Greenwashing, a “green” marketing practice

greenwashing

Are you changing your consumption habits for more sustainable ones? Probably along the way you will have many doubts related to the veracity of what the labels of this or that product try to sell you. And that it is relatively easy to be victim of greenwashing.

Companies do not always play fair in their marketing strategies. Some studies claim that only 4,8 of the products defined as "green" really respond to the characteristics. How to identify them and act against greenwashing?

What is Greenwashing?

Let's start at the beginning. What is greenwashing? In short, we can say that it is a green marketing practice destined to create an illusory image of ecological responsibility, taking advantage of the susceptibility and morality of the people who preferably consume these services or products.

Green

The term that comes from the English green (green) and washing (washing), is not new. According to the Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility, it was the environmentalist Jay Westerveld who coined this word in a 1986 essay, then to refer to the hotel industry.

Also known as eco whitening, ecological washing or eco imposture, greenwashing mislead the public, emphasizing the environmental credentials of a company, person or product when these are irrelevant or unfounded.

Consequences

This bad practice that many companies resort to today in order to clean up their image and gain customers has important consequences that have a negative impact on the consumer, the market and, of course, the environment.

  1. lead to errors of perception in the consumer and take advantage of the consumer's desire to build a positive environmental culture.
  2. Not only does the advertised benefit not occur, but generates greater impactor by increasing consumption.
  3. It is harmful for other companies, because leads to unfair competition, incompatible with corporate social responsibility.

How to detect it?

To avoid greenwashing, you need to know how to identify it. What strategies are used by companies to generate this perception of ecological responsibility or sustainability? Knowing them will help us to be more attentive and alert to certain messages.

  • Be wary of “natural”, “100% eco” and “bi(o)”. If the product highlights these types of claims and does not accompany them with a detailed explanation, be suspicious. When a product is truly organic, it does not hesitate to offer detailed and clear information on its ingredients and production methods.
  • Avoid ambiguous language. Another common strategy is to introduce terms or words that allude to sustainable or environmental benefits but without a clear concept or foundation.
  • Don't let the color fool you: Appealing to green on their labels is common in those companies that want to convince you of their relationship with sustainability and care for the environment. Of course, because a product uses the green color you should not now think that there is a deception, but that it is not enough to choose it.
  • Not for supporting a green cause It is green. Nor is it enough that the company is supporting an organization that fights for the environment to guarantee that the company's product or production system is.

Examples of Greenwashing

Once the main strategies are known, the best way to avoid falling into deception is read labels carefully and dissect the composition of the product. What if the information we are looking for is not on the label? Then you can search for it on their website. Be suspicious if it's not there either; the lack of clear and precise information is usually cause for alert.

When reading the labels it will be of great help to know the third party certifications not involved. Not all stamps have the same value; look for those that offer guarantees at a Spanish and European level. We have already spoken in Bezzia about the textile certifications and we promise to do so ahead of other European Ecolabels that guarantee a limited impact on the environment.

Related article:
The sustainable textile certifications that you should know

Report the scams

When you detect a hoax, don't deduce it, report it! You can do it through social networks, within the same company and of course as a consumer in one of the consumer protection organizations.


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