Greenwashing, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “the act or practice of making a product, policy, activity, etc. appear to be more environmentally friendly or less environmentally damaging than it really is.”

Many companies employ greenwashing techniques to make their products seem more appealing to eco-conscious consumers when their environmentally friendly advertising does not match their actions.

What Does Greenwashing Do?

Greenwashing is often used by companies to convince buyers to purchase products because of their “green” background when the products aren’t as eco-friendly. 

Greenwashed products and services can trick consumers who want to shop for environmentally sustainable products into buying from companies that don’t align with their values. 

Why Should I Be Informed?

Studies show that being informed about greenwashing helps consumers make better purchasing decisions  

Be on the lookout for: 

  • Vague language like “green” or “natural” on products 
  • Green colors or plant imagery on labels without details about sustainable practices 
  • Avoidance of customer questions regarding things like manufacturing practices and waste management.  

 How Can I Avoid Greenwashing?

Online resources such as the Green Business Bureau can help determine whether a company’s eco-friendly marketing strategy matches their actions. 

 Key things to look for include transparency in manufacturing practices and quantifiable evidence detailing how a company minimizes their impact. 

Knowing more about greenwashing can help individuals identify which companies meet sustainability standards and empower people to choose companies with transparent communication about sustainability goals.