What is Greenwashing?
According to ‘Wikipedia’ Greenwashing “Is a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly. While greenwashing is not new, its use has increased over recent years to meet consumer demand for environmentally friendly goods and services.”
There is no doubt that the high cost of organics has forced many to look for cheaper alternatives that MAY offer similar benefits. However, the use of labeling such as ‘spray-free’, ‘chemical free’, ’eco-friendly’, ‘green’, and others …. certainly does not mean that you are getting the same HIGH STANDARDS as CERTIFIED ORGANIC guarantees! In many cases, you are probably paying a premium price for what is really only conventional produce! Until these alternatives offer an independent auditing service to ensure that their claims are true, there is no proof that you are getting what you may think!!! Be WARY and always ask about certification, growers’ names, etc…
Why is Greenwashing a Problem?
It seems like everything is ‘going green’ nowadays. Car companies, restaurants, airlines, retailers, phone manufacturers, just name them, are all going green. Fortunately, it is a good thing only if it is not greenwashing. Greenwashing is not good in the following ways:
It is misleading
Greenwashing is misleading and attempts to make us think that an organization with a questionable environmental track record can turn around and produce environmentally-friendly products. Of course, not all advertising is dishonest but, any advertising labeled as greenwashing is outright dishonest.
It may lead to regulator complacency
In an economy where people are becoming more concerned about the environment, chances of a company getting away with greenwashing can be high. This can be attributed to the fact that almost all companies and organization are trying to get that elusive ‘green’ look. If one organization gets away with greenwashing, other companies may follow suit. This is bad for the consumers using the products and the environment will continue facing degradation from such organisations.
If you bought a product that was widely publicized to be environmentally-friendly only for you to realize that it is not, will you buy a similar product from another vendor or company? The answer is no. Greenwashing fuels mistrust and skepticism among consumers. This is not good for the business people as legitimate products will lose the market.
Well-meaning organizations and companies that are committed to upholding responsible behavior as far maintaining a clean environment is concerned, have every right to be critical of other unethical companies that greenwash.