Happy Herbivore Blog

January 21, 2012

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is all around us, and has been for many years. It is when a company or person claims to be more eco-friendly than they really are and/or has ulterior motives.

Hotels started the idea of greenwashing in the 1980's with their reusing towels to 'save the environment.' They weren't really making an effort to be more environmentally friendly, they just wanted to increase their profits.

Another example is a tampon company that once claimed they are more eco-friendly because they save you waste since there is no applicator. While this may be true (no applicator means no waste) the company is not actually doing anything different! 

Some companies won't even advertise or make any claims, but will change their packaging or design colors so that they look like they would be more 'green'.

Not all claims of environmental friendliness are greenwashing, some companies are actually trying to be more environmentally friendly. The companies that do this, are usually specific in how and they make the information easy to find.

There is one beauty company that buys wind energy credits to offset not only their manufacturing facility but also the stores they own.

If your concerned with eco-friendly claims by businesses, check out the company's website. How difficult is it to find the 'evidence' to support their claims? Does it actually support their claims? There are also several websites and organizations that try to sort out these claims for you. 

Have you noticed any claims of greenwashing?

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