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Greenwashing– How To Spot When The Grass Is Artificial

Greenwashing as defined by Investopedia is providing the public with misleading or false information about a company’s environmental impact.

Unfortunately, as sustainability has become more important, the use of greenwashing has become a more common publicity tactic. As marketers who care, we at Baker Street feel the need to address this harmful practice, and help people distinguish the facts from the fallacies!

We’ve listed a few ways below that you can fact check these claims and ensure that your favorite products and brands are following through on their promises:

1. Are They Certified?

Any typical wordsmith can spin a tale of flower fields and clean ingredients, but what ground do they stand on?

Believe it or not, you can often spot validity in how a company phrases things. Are they certified in some way, or did they simply tell you their products are made with ‘mindful ingredients’ and ‘conscious packaging’. The truth is, you can keep anything in mind without actually acting on it or making a difference.

Claims like these should always be supported by an outside source, and brands that are being truthful won’t hesitate to slap that ‘cruelty-free’ logo on their website and products to assure you that they aren’t testing on animals.

It’s often sported as a badge of honor, but just know that anyone who’s following through on their promises will make it visible and noticeable if they’ve acquired one of these:

2. Plastic, Plastic, And More Plastic

If they claim to have eco-friendly packaging but their bottles and boxes are made almost entirely of plastic, then you likely can’t trust them. Plastics are often used in manufacturing and are openly known to be damaging to the environment.

Even if they claim to use bioplastics, which even by name sound much better, materials like this still often end up in landfills and won’t easily decompose. While that effort to use less harmful plastic does mean something, we can’t go around giving out cookies and awards for doing bare minimum earth-conscious practices.

There are also plenty of brands that are using less harmful ingredients in their products, but don’t let that distract from packaging that’s just as bad as their competitors. Even if what’s on the inside is good, it doesn’t cancel out a rotten exterior.

3. Doing The Research

While this is the most hands-in-the-dirt approach (pun intended), doing the research before your purchase from a brand with big claims is well worth it. A brand’s transparency can say a lot, and if you have trouble finding verification on their claims, then it’s probably safe to say they aren’t reliable.

Companies that have reliability at the heart of what they do won’t be afraid to provide receipts and proof of their practices. Only those with something to hide will avoid backing up their greenwashed claims.

More often than not, you can find lists of various companies and products that meet all the ethical standards you’re looking for so you can avoid the guess-work.

Author:
Anna White