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What is Greenwashing and how to avoid eco-fakery as a business

As we bring back fringes, clogs, suede vests and flared jeans – not only is “hippie” fashion jumping back into the limelight, but the largescale environmental movement and “Give Earth a Chance” attitude is also on the rise.  

With the advancements of science shining a spotlight on the environmental impact of our consumer habits – so was birthed “the rise of the eco-friendly consumer.”  

A recent study by Visual GPS and YouGov has found that 81% of people polled expect companies to be environmentally conscious in their advertising and communications. 

As a brand, you may be considering advertising your eco-friendly stance to the world, but before you get ahead of yourself you best be aware of ‘Greenwashing.’  

What is greenwashing

Greenwashing is defined as conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound.  

Understanding greenwashing is important because what you don’t want to do, is damage your customers’ trust by making false claims that your company or products are environmentally friendly.  

Many companies have been called out for greenwashing, many will remember the controversy back in 2019 when McDonald’s introduced paper straws which turned out to be non-recyclable. A classic example of a corporate giant’s false attempt at addressing an issue.  

Consumers are sceptical and often do not believe a company’s claims about their sustainability practices.  

How to avoid greenwashing  

Be concise with your language, avoid any fluffy language like “natural” or “eco-friendly” without any evidence to back it up.  

The most effective to prevent greenwashing is to foster complete transparency, especially when it comes to any environmental benefits of your company’s products or services.  

Set achievable goals to improve your environmental responsibility and share this progress candidly. Doing this is an effective way of increasing engagement with followers (and beyond) by starting conversations around the sustainability of your business.  

So, being green is an amazing thing and you should share your efforts. Be loud and proud, but most importantly – stay transparent.