Greenwashing is a marketing / PR strategy used by corporations and companies to mislead consumers to show they "care about the environment" and work sustainably, spending money and time claiming to be green rather than actually implementing eco business models.
It is used as a strategy to convert ethical values into profitability. As the climate movement progresses, we are seeing more companies integrate sustainability into their core values. However, there are several companies making false claims or adding green labels to appeal to larger audiences and make you feel good about buying their products.
Greenwashing companies often uses vague, false, and/or claims that have no proof just to sound "eco friendly" for example, "made from recycled bottles" or using heavy amount of green packaging, nature imagery, or trendy buzzwords
Examples include companies using green packaging and vague words like "plant based" "organic" "all natural" or "green" on their labels. It could also include making recycled products with unethical labor practices or sweatshops or exaggerating the truth.
Greenwashing companies and corporations are taxing on the planet as they keep consumers blind to the reality behind product manufacturing, lifecycles and labour, that continues to affect communities and the world. Many of these companies are not transparent with details on labour practices, sourcing of materials and waste produced. This is a direct threat to our planet as it distracts a large majority of the population from the current state of climate change.
The biggest greenwashing product are "Bioplastics" as they promise eco friendly packaging, however there is limited knowledge as to what happens after you use these products.
Bioplastics are plastics made from bio based polymers to work like normal plastic, however they require special sites and resources to break down. They cannot be processed in regular recycling factories, so it isn't a more sustainable option than plastic. Thus being one of the biggest greenwashing products.
A 2019 class-action lawsuit against Nestle alleges the food giant’s “sustainably sourced cocoa beans” are nothing of the sort. Not when production of the key ingredient in the company’s chocolate products — including its Butterfinger and Baby Ruth bars, Nesquik chocolate milk, Toll House chocolate chips and hot cocoa mix (seen above) — is helping drive massive deforestation in West Africa. The suit also claims the cocoa comes from farms that use child and slave labor, which Nestle (sort of) responds to here. (Excerpt credit: Truth in Advertising)
For decades, SeaWorld has fascinated large crowds with its killer whale shows. But recently the amusement park has faced scrutiny over its alleged concealed mistreatment of the animals. Several class-action lawsuits allege SeaWorld misrepresents that it “cares for,” “protects,” “nurtures,” and creates a “fun, interesting, and stimulating” environment for its killer whales when, in reality, the captive animals lead “unhealthy and despairing lives.” (Link to full article here)
To learn more about greenwashing, product life-cycles, and a take on sustainable product designing, listen to the following The Sustainable Act Podcast episodes to hear from experts and leaders in sustainable designing.
🌿 The difference between recycling vs down-cycling
🌿 What is greenwashing
🌿 How to source materials sustainably
🌿 And the life cycle of certain products
🌿 Fast vs Slow Fashion
🌿 Sustainable Designing
🌿 Types of fabrics used
🌿 Hiring and Sourcing
🌿 Giving Back
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To a sustainable future!
THE SUSTAINABLE ACT
WITH SMIELY KHURANA