Beware of greenwashing: What it is and how to avoid it
Greenwashing may sound clean, but it’s actually a dirty marketing tool that many businesses use and something consumers must be aware of.
The term greenwashing refers to when a company spends time and money to brand themselves as environmentally friendly, but they don’t take measures to minimize their environmental impact.
For example, a cosmetics or skincare brand might put 100% organic on their product label, without providing any evidence to support that claim. Companies use sneaky tactics like this to reel in consumers who are trying to be eco-friendly.
At Kaia Earth, we don’t just slap “Earth” in our name and claim to be committed to the environment--we ARE committed to the environment. One look at our products and our website is evidence alone. Our products are sustainably packaged in reusable glass jars, our ingredients are entirely plant-based, we are cruelty-free, and we are a member of 1% for the Planet, which means 1% of our sales goes directly to non-profit organizations (NPOs) whose mission is to protect the environment.
Furthermore, part of our mission is to educate our customers on health and global responsibility through our platform. That being said, here are some tips for how to avoid choosing products that are greenwashed:
- Look for evidence that back-up empty claims. If a product says “all-natural” or “organic” on the cover, turn it over and check the list of ingredients to see if it aligns with that statement. Or visit the company’s website and see if it’s full of ambiguous claims.
- Avoid products that say CFC-free or phosphate free because these agents have been banned for many years
- Pay attention to graphics and colors. One tactic used in greenwashing is literally using the color green and showing pictures of beautiful scenes in nature. This could be a distraction for consumers so they don’t delve deeper into the company’s practices, which may be anything but environmentally friendly.
- Is the product’s advertisement misleading? Is it tiptoeing around and saying nothing truly meaningful? Well, do your research because it sounds like they’re hiding something.
- Check for REAL certifications. Companies may say “organic” but without the certified organic symbol, there’s nothing to really back up the claim.
- Watch out for companies who advertise as the lesser of two evils. Because in the end, both are evil, right?
- Pay attention to the company’s packaging. They may claim to be eco-friendly, but if they use a lot of material in their packaging, how can you trust that they are an eco-conscious business?
Greenwashing is a major issue, and the best way to deal with it as consumers is to be aware of it and have a set of strategies to avoid it. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, or if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.