Don’t Fall for Greenwashing


As many of you may know, marketing is my major. I think it is a very powerful tool and like many things in life it can be used for both good and evil. Today we’re talking about a technique that I would consider to be one of the evils of marketing — greenwashing.

My definition

Greenwashing can be defined as a misleading marketing technique used to deceive consumers into thinking a product is more “eco-friendly” than it really is. Companies do this strategically, as an attempt to capitalize on the increasing demand for environmentally beneficial products. Crazy right?

Report after report has shown that a large percentage of consumers are willing to spend more money on products that are environmentally conscious, ethical or support a good cause. Companies have noticed this trend and have exploited it. Greenwashing conveys the idea that a product is natural, wholesome or clean by using strategic branding and packaging. 

The Consequences

The impact is detrimental and oftentimes unfair. Consumers trying to make responsible decisions are unintentionally doing the opposite by purchasing green-washed products. Additionally, it diminishes consumer trust. Once consumers have been lied to once they will be skeptical of all products, no matter how honest the claims are in reality.

GreenPeace sums up the impact of greenwashing by saying

“The average citizen is finding it more and more difficult to tell the difference between those companies genuinely dedicated to making a difference and those that are using a green curtain to conceal dark motives.”

How can we avoid it?

If you know what to look for it will decrease the chances of being victimized by greenwashing.

  • Analyze the packaging. Look out for red-flag phrases like “green” “eco-friendly” and “natural”.
  • Fact check your products and do your research.
  • Be on high alert, trust your instincts!

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