What is Greenwashing?

Written by Ellie Siviter

Apr 06, 2023


What is the meaning of greenwashing?

As the world becomes increasingly eco-conscious, companies are eager to jump on the “green” bandwagon. With the rise of greenwashing, it’s getting harder to tell who’s truly committed to sustainability and who’s just trying to cash in on the trend. But what is greenwashing exactly? The definition of greenwashing is the act of making false or exaggerated claims about a product's environmental impact to appear more environmentally responsible, while actually making little to no effort to reduce the negative impact of production on the environment.

What are the dangers of greenwashing?

In a world where climate change is a pressing issue, consumers are eager to make a difference with their purchasing choices. People are well aware of the effects of climate change, and as a result, many people want a better life for our planet and themselves. So companies will want to be seen as doing "their part" for the environment.  Unfortunately, some companies and organisations seem as if they are “giving back” but in reality, they are making little if not zero difference at all.

It's a sad truth, but companies know that consumers are becoming more conscious of the effects of climate change and want to make a difference in their planet. The majority of consumers will prefer to purchase an eco-friendly product over one without a label. By slapping a green label on a product, companies can improve their brand image and increase sales, even if they're not making a difference. It's like putting lipstick on a pig.  It's a deceptive practice that takes advantage of consumers' well-intentioned efforts to live a more sustainable life. By appearing more environmentally responsible, they can improve their brand image and increase sales, even if they're not making a difference. However, these companies could be mass-producing, harming the environment, or paying their workers unfairly, all while claiming to be organic, natural, or eco-friendly.

How to avoid greenwashing?

To avoid falling victim to greenwashing, it's essential to research and be aware of the dark side of the green movement. Don't be afraid to question labels and look for certifications that back up the claims being made. You can look for third-party certifications, such as Fair Trade, which indicate that a product has been independently verified as eco-friendly. And most importantly, consider the bigger picture - a company's overall sustainability practices and impact on the environment, rather than just one product. By making informed choices, you can play your part in reducing the harm to our planet and supporting companies that are truly committed to sustainability.

At tem. we believe that everyone deserves access to 100% renewable energy and we're committed to helping you make informed decisions in your journey towards a more sustainable future. Let's work together to make the world a better place, one green choice at a time.

Want to learn more? Have a listen to this great podcast from B Lab for B Corporation (B Corps) about greenwashing. B Corps-certified businesses meet the highest standards of verified performance, accountability and transparency on factors such as people, environment and governance.

You can check it out here: https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/news/blog/forces-for-good-podcast-episode-2-greenwashing

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