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Greenwashing blog-1
12 Jun 20232 min read

What Is Greenwashing? How To Spot and Avoid It

What is Greenwashing? 

Greenwashing is a term that describes the practice of companies promoting their products or services as environmentally friendly when, in reality, their environmental impact is not significantly reduced and may not have been calculated. This can involve the use of exaggeration, misleading claims, vague language, and carefully chosen buzzwords that create the illusion of a company’s commitment to sustainability, without any meaningful change in its practices. 

The primary goal is to improve a company’s public image and attract eco-conscious consumers, who are increasingly concerned about the impact of their purchasing decisions on the environment. However, this deceptive marketing tactic has the potential to undermine genuine efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainable business practices.

The History of Greenwashing 

The term “greenwashing” was first coined in the 1980s, but examples of this deceptive practice can be traced back even further. As public awareness of environmental issues has grown, so too has the pressure on companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Unfortunately, some businesses have chosen to take advantage of this trend by employing incorrect tactics to mislead consumers and maintain business as usual. 

Why is Greenwashing a Problem? 

It presents a range of problems for both consumers and the environment. By presenting themselves as environmentally responsible, companies can continue to engage in practices that contribute to climate change, deforestation, and other environmental issues, while avoiding scrutiny or demands for change. This can hinder progress towards a more sustainable future and perpetuate the harmful systems that are currently in place. 

How to Avoid Greenwashing 

There are several strategies that consumers can employ to avoid falling victim to greenwashing and ensure that they are making informed decisions about the products they purchase and the companies they support. These include: 

  1. Research the company: Take the time to research a company’s environmental practices and look for evidence of their commitment to sustainability. This can include their involvement in environmental initiatives, partnerships with reputable organisations, and the transparency of their supply chain. 
  2. Look for external verification: Seek out products and services that have been independently verified by a trusted third-party organisation. This can provide reassurance that a company’s environmental claims are genuine and not a marketing ploy.
  3. Prioritise traceability: Choose products that provide information about their supply chain and the origins of their materials. This can help to ensure that companies are sourcing responsibly and meeting their environmental claims. 
  4. Demand accountability: Encourage companies to be transparent about their environmental practices and take responsibility for their impact. This can involve asking questions, engaging with businesses on social media, and supporting campaigns that call for greater corporate accountability. 
  5. Stay informed: Educate yourself about common techniques and keep up-to-date with the latest developments in sustainability. This can help you to make more informed decisions about the products you buy and the companies you support. 

By taking these steps, consumers can take the stress out of avoiding greenwashing and contribute to the development of a more sustainable and responsible marketplace. 

5 Strategies to Avoid Greenwashing and Promote Authentic Sustainability

In Summary

Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing tactic that can undermine genuine efforts to promote sustainable business practices and combat climate change. To avoid falling victim to it, it is crucial for consumers to be vigilant and look for external verification, traceability, and accountability when assessing a company’s environmental claims. 


Get in touch with our experts today to verify your product and avoid greenwashing claims.