Greenwashing: How to See Past the Green-Tinted Glasses
As the environmental movement has grown, so has its evil twin: greenwashed marketing. Today, greenwashing is everywhere, from fashion to food to cleaning products. In North America, 72% of business executives agree that their company has “overstated their sustainability efforts”—and that’s just the ones that will admit to it. So, as an eco-minded consumer, how are you supposed to see through marketing strategy and find environmentally-safe companies?
Charlie’s Soap is here to help. Here’s a crash course on greenwashing: what it is, how to spot it, and what you’ll find in truly green products.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is the practice of making a product appear more environmentally friendly than it really is. As environmental awareness has grown in the past decade, more and more consumers are making eco-friendly choices. Greenwashing takes advantage of these consumers by using false claims of sustainability to trick them into buying their products.
How to Spot Greenwashing
Wherever you shop (and whatever you’re shopping for), you’re probably hounded by greenwashing tactics every day. Luckily, with a little know-how, you can detect greenwashing. Here are a few clear signs of “eco-friendly” products that aren’t so eco-friendly.
A lack of evidence is one of the most widespread signs of greenwashing. A green company should have details on their side. How is their product better for the environment? What impact is it really making? If a company is making big claims about their sustainability without any additional information, it could be a sign that they’re faking that green glow. If you’re on the hunt for green products, the first thing to check for is evidence, research, and proven sustainability.
Vague Claims and Buzzwords
The language of eco-marketing is widely unregulated. Companies can use attractive words like “organic,” “green,” and “sustainable” freely—even with harmful products. Many companies present the bare legal minimum as environmentally friendly. This tactic makes their product look more sustainable than their competition. However, in reality, the products may be equally damaging to the planet.
Keep an eye out for these commonly-used buzzwords. They don’t always mean harmful products—but they can be the first greenwashed red flag.
While certifications never hurt, keeping an open mind for non-certified products is best. There are lots of green products out there that haven’t been reviewed by a regulated entity. Still, eco-friendly certifications are hard to come by, so they’re a guaranteed way to spot green products.
The real problem comes when a company tries to fake its way to certification. Some companies develop labels that give the appearance of genuine certification. Watch out for vague symbols—often with animals or plants—that claim certification from non-existent entities.
The Real Thing
So, you know some greenwashing tactics to watch out for. But, an absence of these signs does not a green product make. Here’s a few quick signs to look for from truly green products.
Details, details, details. Search for transparency about green practices instead of vague promises. Eco-friendly companies should be happy to share how their products help the planet. Plus, many green companies have data to back up their claims. That means you should be able to understand the science behind their environmental effort.
Although certification isn’t everything, it can never hurt. Trustworthy companies like the Environmental Protection Agency hold to strict standards. Their seal of approval tells you something about a company’s values. That’s why, here at Charlie’s Soap, we’re proud to have the EPA Safer Choice Certification for Charlie’s Natural Powder Laundry Detergent, Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent, Biodegradable Laundry Pre-Spray Stain Remover, and Kitchen & Bath Household Cleaner.
Green, Through and Through
A product may be green in some ways, but harmful in others. For example, a company may swear off animal testing for one of their products. Yet, the product might result in harmful byproducts that pollute the environment. You can’t be just a little environmentally-friendly—it’s gotta be green, all the way.
We’ve ensured that you can trust Charlie’s Soap products to be truly green. We’re committed to providing products free of harsh surfactants, artificial fragrances, and chemical additives—all without animal testing. That means they’re also hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin, allergies, or asthma. To limit waste, our formulas are ultra-concentrated, and Charlie’s Soap products are even safe for your septic system. We’re green, through and through.
Goodbye Greenwashing, Hello Green Cleaning
Greenwashing is all around us. Still, you’re not in this alone; with a little know-how, you can be sure to find companies that share your commitment to the planet.
At Charlie’s Soap, we take our environmental mission to heart. When you use Charlie’s Soap, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with truly green cleaning. We’ve got the products you need, from household cleaners to stain treatments, so you can keep up on cleaning while helping the earth. It’s right in our motto: clean, for life. Shop Charlie’s Soap.
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