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Imagine you’re looking to create a brand new product – something that could revolutionise the industry you work in.
Now imagine if that product’s creation or use is going to produce a lot of not-so-great chemicals into the world. You know it’s not going to sell as well, so you make some changes to make it a bit more environmentally friendly. However, it’s still not as good as it could be.
You’re one week from launch and you need to get your marketing tagline signed off – you need something to draw in your target audience, so decide to say “made with all-natural ingredients and great for the environment” …
Whoops – you’ve just started Greenwashing!
But what is Greenwashing, and how can you avoid it?
Greenwashing is the act where companies convey an impression to the public that their products are more environmentally friendly than others but are in fact, misleading them about the extent of the benefit they stand to gain from the product.
This could involve claiming that their product uses natural products in a less wasteful manner, or less chemicals, or recycling materials in the production process – when actually that could be exaggerated, or worse – completely untrue!
There are some serious ramifications if you’re found to be Greenwashing – maybe you’ve seen some prime examples in the news in recent years:
Aside from McDonalds releasing paper straws that turned out to be non-recyclable, and Starbucks released straw-less lids that had more plastic that the separate lid and straw combined, there are plenty of examples of large companies Greenwashing that you may not have even realised:
It’s usually large companies that are often found to be Greenwashing, but it’s a good idea to get these practices instilled early in your business so you can avoid negative press and loss in sales:
When you’re talking about your product and want to feature the environmental impact in advertising, make sure you’re absolutely clear with information. If you’re product is made from 50% recycled materials, say exactly that!
Also, if you’re going to make a claim about the eco-friendliness of your product, make sure you can prove exactly what you’re saying – whether that’s in the creation, usage, or disposal of your product.