As consumer interest in sustainable products continues to skyrocket, something else grows along with it: greenwashing. Greenwashing is what happens when a company implies their products and processes are more sustainable than they actually are. Brands that greenwash put more money and effort into marketing their products to appear green versus actually being green.
Building and running a truly sustainable company involves tirelessly vetting each step of the supply chain and making thoughtful decisions about how to make the brand more beneficial to the planet and each maker involved. For some brands, attempting to earn eco-conscious shoppers’ trust through green advertising is more tempting than doing the actual work.
Consumers Care About Greenwashing - A Lot
At a time when customers value the ethical impact of their products, greenwashing matters. According to a 2020 IBM report, 71% of shoppers are willing to change their shopping habits for a brand that offers traceability, and 73% of Gen Z are willing to pay more for products that are sustainable. In a 2020 World Economic Forum survey, 9 out of 10 respondents among 28 countries said they’d like to see more sustainable products in a post-pandemic market. Consumers want the real thing - true, real-deal green products. Greenwashing simply won’t cut it.
How To Spot Greenwashing
Once you develop an eye for what greenwashing looks like, you’ll start to notice the signs quickly when browsing a brand’s products. Here are a few signs of greenwashing to watch out for:
Clues That A Brand Is Truly Sustainable
Once you learn to spot greenwashing, you’ll also become better at noticing which brands are truly walking the walk with sustainability. A few common clues include:
Ideally, as consumers become more savvy, greenwashing will continue to lose its power. Discerning shoppers want brands that make that world a better place, and as more companies realize this, more will do the work to become genuinely sustainable. When we use our purchasing power to buy truly sustainable products whenever possible, brands get the message and start to make change. We can make a difference with our choices!