Next Article from 'ZWNow Issue 7 Spring 2021' Foraging Spring’s edible plants What is it? Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or misleading information about how environmentally friendly a company or product is. Advertisement Why? Greenwashing is an attempt to capitalise on the growing demand for environmentally friendly products. Different types of greenwashing: • Labelling; products can be labelled vaguely with positive claims like “organic” “100% Natural” “ecofriendly” without substantial information on the ingredients list to validate these claims. • Imagery; Images of green things like trees and leaves, and the colour green on packaging is used to imply an environmentally friendly product. • Lesser Evil; A product that provides an image of being better, while still being damaging to the environment, and sometimes the consumer. E.g. organic cigarettes. • Hidden trade off; Environmentally hazardous activities in the manufacturing process. The company will hide such activities and only disclose any environmentally friendly activities and practices. An example of the ‘imagery’ tactic. Examples of some vague labels Examples: • A product labelled “50% more recycled content than before”. The label leads you to believe that this product has high recycled content. When the reality could be that the products recycled content has increased from 1% to 2%. • A rubbish bag labelled as ‘recyclable’. Rubbish bags are usually not separated from their contents at the landfill or incinerator, so the bag being recyclable provides no actual benefit. How can we avoid greenwashing? • Don’t trust irrelevant claims made by companies about their brands and products. Always do some research of your own. • Remember that just because a company manufactures one truly environmentally friendly product, this doesn’t mean that all of their products are. • Familiarise yourself with identifying legitimate standard logos, such as the FSC, RSPO, and Cruelty-Free international logos below. Remember: Genuinely green products and companies will always back up their claims with facts and details, and are usually happy to answer any questions you have. Tip: Download the app ‘giki’ on your phone to scan bar-codes of products while you’re shopping. This app will rate a product for sustainability, healthiness, and fairness.
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