Photo: Iryna Imago (Shutterstock)

Photo: Iryna Imago (Shutterstock)

We all want to do our part to limit the catastrophic consequences of climate change , even if that’s as simple as making more environmentally conscious decisions when we buy our clothes, groceries, and cleaning supplies. Unfortunately, many companies know that consumers are looking for “eco-friendly” options these days, and are willing in order to spend more time marketing themselves because eco-friendly than they do on actually minimizing their environmental impact. This deceitful advertising tactic is known as “greenwashing. ” Here’s how to recognize it when you encounter it.

How to spot and avoid greenwashing

Greenwashing is a marketing gimmick to make something seem environmentally conscious, whenever in reality, the particular product doesn’t live up to the claims of sustainability. According to Business News Daily , the term was coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 as the critique associated with the “save the towel” movement in hotels—a practice that had little impact beyond saving hotels money in laundry costs.

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The result of greenwashing is that consumers are misled into thinking they’re making environmentally mindful decisions when they really aren’t. If you want in order to avoid this deceit, U. S. Information provides several telltale signs of greenwashing:

  • Contradicting packaging. The product may be designed with leaves and trees, but that design is printed on top of a large amount of non-recyclable plastic.

  • Incorrect or incomplete claims. Brands get around a lack of third-party verification by writing “organic” instead of what a person should look for, “USDA Organic. ” Another common greenwashing tactic is a green seal that does not actually have a certified marking.

  • “Secondhand” marketing tactics. If a brand sells “recycled” products while simultaneously selling new products at a discount, they’re simply trying to use the appeal of “secondhand” products in order to encourage more consumption. They’re not actually addressing the particular overproduction that will fuels overconsumption.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that most companies are focused solely upon their own bottom line. Greenwashing takes advantage associated with the fact that you want to be a more conscientious consumer and tries to keep a person as a consumer, at all costs. Look for contradictions between how a product will be marketed plus its environment impact, so that you can avoid brands that don’t truly align with your values.

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By Ellie

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