Greenwashing is misleading information that companies make to advertise themselves as an environmentally friendly company or improve a company’s image and expecting people to buy their product more. Companies spend money on advertising to make their companies look good rather than doing things to help a sustainable environment.
“An attempt to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is” — Cambridge Dictionary
How to identify greenwashing
1. Hidden Trade-Off: Labeling a product as environmentally friendly based on a small set of attributes (i.e., made of recycled content) when other attributes not addressed.
2. No Proof: Making an environmental claim without providing easily accessible evidence on either the label or the product website (i.e., a light bulb is touted as energy efficient with no supporting data).
3. Vagueness: Using terms that are too broad or poorly defined to be properly understood (i.e., an “all-natural” cleaner may still contain harmful ingredients that are naturally occurring).
4. Irrelevance: Stating something that is technically true but not a distinguishing factor when looking for eco-friendly products (i.e., advertised as “CFC-Free” — but since CFCs are banned by law this is unremarkable).
5. Lesser of Two Evils: Claiming to be greener than other products in its category when the category as a whole may be environmentally unfriendly (i.e., an organic cigarette may be greener, but, you know, it’s still a cigarette).
6. Fibbing: Advertising something that just isn’t true (i.e., claims to be Energy Star Certified, but isn’t).
7. Worshiping False Labels: Implying that a product has a third-party endorsement or certification that doesn’t actually exist, often through the use of fake certification labels.
Sometimes companies didn’t exactly tell that it is good for the environment but use colours or pictures to mislead consumers.
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