When people hear about big corporations taking advantage of a particular concept in order to make a profit, they usually give out a usual bored reaction. Well, this is because it is a well known fact that some brands care more about profit. It is hard to talk about greenwashing and not talk about the role many big companies play in promoting such behaviour.
However, the goal of this article is not to complain about their behaviour. Instead, we want to help the readers and the consumers understand what the concept of greenwashing is and how they can easily spot it from far away.
What exactly is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing can be referred to as a process in which a brand shows off a false impression of their products. Most importantly, it is primarily focused on the sustainability aspect. In simple words, a brand could give out some unsubstantiated claims in order to deceive the customers and make them believe that the products are eco-friendly.
Some companies might claim that their products are made up of recycled products without showing any proof. In some places, there are no laws against this. Hence, it could be very difficult for someone to prove whether the claims are false or not.
It is also important to note that greenwashing does not only occur in the world of textile. It can also become a part of the automobile industry. In short, any industry that is believed to be a major cause of environmental pollution can become a target for greenwashing. Read more about Mindful Buyers: The Rise of Eco-Conscious Shopping.
Types Of Greenwashing
There is still one question in everyone’s mind: How do you know that a company is greenwashing its products? Well, to be honest, there is not one definite answer. In this section we are going to talk about different ways in which these companies try to misguide their customers, and perhaps you might be able to use it later on.
Brands often try to put forward some claims right away. But these claims can sometimes be so vague that it would be impossible to pin-point how their products are sustainable. For example, a brand may market its product as just non-toxic. There are many chemicals that can be non-toxic, but all of them are not eco-friendly.
The synthetic dyes used in the textile industry might not be toxic to us, but it has been a major contributor for water contamination. That is why terms like without hazardous chemicals have become so popular. Instead of showcasing the entire dyeing process, brands can simply rely on these words. Read more about What is Bringing Back Herbal Dyeing to the Textile Industry?
Usually, a company might have a large variety of products. However, in order to meet the sustainability demand of the public, they might end up marketing the only single eco-friendly product that they have. They do all this while selling other products that lack the eco-friendly attribute.
This tactic is proof of how the company baits the consumer into thinking that it cares for the environment while selling them a green product in a plastic bag. Generally, you would see that this so-called ‘green-product’ is always on short supply. This is mostly because it is used to lure in more customers.
Almost every country in the world is looking for a way to tackle the environmental issues that plague the whole planet. However, it seems that making simple laws active is not an easy task. One major reason behind this can be the lobbies created by big companies who think that it might negatively affect their sales.
However, when it comes to them losing their customers, they might end up taking some actions and coming up with healthy or green products of their own. But there is a 100% guarantee that they are still betting against the new environmental laws.
We have already mentioned how companies try to be vague about their products. But, in some cases they can also outright lie and make up those claims. This phenomenon can be seen in many small companies who have no certification but still market their products by saying that it is eco-friendly. Small brands can often fly under the radar, and hence they can take full advantage of it.
Greenwashing Regulations In The UK
There are no specific laws that prohibit companies from greenwashing in the UK. However, there are consumer protection regulations, most notably the Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, that protects the customer from false claims made by brands. But these claims are not only limited to Greenwashing. Still a deceptive eco-claim can fall in this as well.
In order to talk about the solution, there are a lot of complicated things involved in greenwashing. Now, some brands might even not face any consequences of their actions. Boycotting is one of the most popular things that consumers do, but even that cannot solve the problem. The real solution for greenwashing is something that should come from the brand’s side as they are the ones responsible for this. They should be transparent and should make sure that they don’t abuse the trust of their customers. The world is slowly moving towards a green-revolution, this does not mean that they have to immediately market themselves as so. These things can take time, and there is nothing wrong with taking it slow. We have a long way to go, but we can definitely overcome this issue.