What do we mean by Greenwashing?

You have probably heard of the “green”, “ecological”, or even “organic” products that are invading our supermarkets and our social networks. Unfortunately, most of these so-called “green” products are not really ecological and their production remains increasingly harmful to the environment.

Sustainable development obliges, most companies that call themselves “green” only stick a green label on what they offer on the market, in order to mislead the vigilance of consumers who feel more and more concerned by climate change. . They offer what they claim to be an ethical and sustainable product or service, when it is not. This is called greenwashing, or even “Greenwashing”.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a marketing technique aimed at creating an illusion of ecological responsibility. Green communication, but that does not always mean that the company is ecologically responsible. This concept is frequently used by NGOs to denounce companies that claim to have environmental concerns when their activities and practices prove otherwise.

The company therefore deceives its customers, to make them believe that its offer is ecological. The latter claims that its products, components or practices are environmentally friendly through attractive marketing campaigns, when they are not. It is not the products that change, only the marketing strategy used to market them, in order to attract or retain consumers who want to buy ethical products.

The purpose of greenwashing is to make a profit. The companies that have recourse take advantage of the collective awareness linked to global warming, and try to join this trend, but also to stand out from the others. Social networks remain their best allies.

Unfortunately, many other companies resort to greenwashing by accident, because they don’t have the expertise to know what’s really good for the environment and what isn’t.

Some examples of greenwashing

Fake “green” labels

Labels are often used in an attempt to mislead consumers, as they can be difficult to verify. Some brands create their own labels that claim to be eco-friendly. However, they have no legal value. Similarly, small green logos can be confused with official eco-labels, and just because a product has a green leaf or a green dot does not mean it is part of a sustainable development approach.

The “Red Herring”

In summary, this greenwashing technique aims to seduce the consumer and divert attention. Companies will make sure to promote a specific aspect of their product that can be described as ethical and sustainable, and the challenge is to ensure that customers do not pay attention to other characteristics, neither ethical nor durable.

These brands therefore try to capitalize on part of their offer and ignore the other aspects that are destructive to the environment. For example, a company will make recyclable or even biodegradable packaging the center of its marketing strategy, and will not highlight the product which is not green.

Approximate terminology

It’s a common practice: With the emergence of “green” products, many brands have decided to self-market their products as being “green” too. However, most of the time they prefer to use loose terminology, or vague claims, suggesting that their products meet high environmental standards.

Nevertheless, these companies do not take the risk of being too precise in their description, because it could be proven that it is false. This is why we often encounter products stamped “environmentally friendly”, an assertion that remains difficult to confirm or deny.

Greenwashing is not bad only from a moral point of view

One might think that greenwashing is only about ethics and morality. Unfortunately, it goes a little further. In the current context, this type of behavior is highly harmful. Beyond lying to consumers, greenwashing companies obstruct all efforts to reduce the environmental impact of human activity.

While many people try to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, greenwashing companies hinder this process and contribute to the perpetuation of an unsustainable model, responsible for irreparable damage to our ecosystem.

Every action counts. Still, we must remember that we must avoid a global temperature rise of more than 1.5°C. This is not a whim or a random figure: reaching this target is absolutely crucial if we want to limit the consequences of global warming.

Greenwashing undermines the valuable efforts that society is trying to make, and the best behavior to adopt towards these companies is to boycott them, denounce them on social networks, and turn to real ecological brands.

Now you know how not to be deceived!


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