Are you being greenwashed?

For those that have never heard of Greenwashing; it is defined as:

Marketing to make it look like a company is eco friendly when actually they are not.

It is sad to know how easy it is for companies to mislead us.

Who’s guilty?

  • McDonald’s non-recyclable paper straws are a perfect example of greenwashing. The company is known for deforestation for cattle ranches and tons of plastic and yet the paper straws mean they’re a good eco friendly company, right?
  • Burberry destroyed unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth £28.6m in 2017 to protect its brand, they have since said they will stop 🛑 but it isn’t just them H&M had burned 60 tons of new and unsold clothes since 2013. Many other companies have been doing this too – take a look at this video it may shock you.
  • It isn’t just clothes, Amazon has been found destroying tons of returned items, like mattresses, washing machines, and mobile phones.
  • Car companies who claim to manufacture “clean diesels” – there is no such thing!
  • Nestle claim that they use sustainable cocoa beans however it is completely false when you look at the deforestation they are causing in West Africa.
  • Fast fashion outlets who promote throwaway culture and cheap clothes.
  • Companies that advertise “compostable” or “biodegradable” products such as coffee cups, straws, coffee pods etc. that will not actually degrade in your compost but need to be sent to a special facility (and there aren’t many around!). Starbucks, McDonald’s and others have been found doing this.
  • Any “eco friendly” cigarette companies – they aren’t!
  • Paper plates/cups are not eco friendly – throwaway culture is never eco friendly.
  • Ben & Jerry’s like to make you think they have happy cows and that they care about the planet but they actually use factory farming which is one of the biggest pollutants out there.
  • Lush like to make you think you are buying with no packaging by having all of the soaps out without plastic but once at the counter they use plastic to wrap the products.

What to look out for:

  • Boasts about impressive initiatives such as solar power and recycling at head office (head office is usually tiny compared to the rest of the carbon footprint in production and shipping)
  • If a company claims that they are sustainable, as there is no formal definition of sustainability they can get away with calling themselves sustainable even if they have many bad practices.
  • Perhaps a company boasts reduced or recycled packaging – a step in the right direction but if the rest of their production isn’t eco friendly then it is just a tiny thing to make you think that they are an eco company when they aren’t.
  • Some companies boast about their attempts to use eco friendly LED lighting etc. when actually it is the legal requirement for that country anyway!
  • When companies make big claims on reducing emissions but in the fine print you may find they are actually not that great.
  • Then we come to recycling – the products are recyclable? Great, but where? Is it widely accepted or will you have to find somewhere special to recycle it? ♻️
  • Where are the products made? Is there full transparency on the workers pay and conditions? Companies may claim they pay minimum wage (which isn’t that great anyway – a living wage would be much more impressive) but that is to the staff in the shops etc. and not where the products are actually made.
  • Does the shop have a few “ethical products”? This is a way to make you think the shop as a whole is ethical when they aren’t. Take a look at h&m with their conscious range – it’s very small compared to the rest of the things they stock.
  • Packaging products in earth tones with the word ‘natural’ emphasized everywhere is another trick.
  • Biodegradable doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t bad for the environment or that it won’t take a long time to biodegrade.

If you want to read more then take a look at my books: Being Mindful of Our Planet 🌎 and Eco Evie.

Louise x

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