5 Steps to Understanding Greenwashing.

Let’s talk about Greenwashing, or green screening. Greenwashing was coined in the 1980’s, but has been around long before that. Essentially, it’s advertising a product or brand in a way that seems environmental, sustainable, low toxic or makes a company or product look more “green”. There is generally a twisted truth behind them, which can be hard to identify. These are how brand get away with Greenwashing.


Greenwashing is hard to identify because only 2% of green washing are plain and simple lies. The reason for this is because the ACCC regulates and controls this, so companies have been sneaky and find other ways to become more appealing.


Irrelevant information accounts for 4% of Greenwashing. You think this might be easy to identify, but these companies can be tricky. Brands may state ‘there is no aluminium in hand cream’, you might actually believe it because aluminium is commonly found in deodorant. However, aluminium has never been in hand cream and the product may seem more appealing because they left a chemical out, that was never in there to begin with. The best thing to do when buying products is read the back of the label and compare. You'll probably find that the ‘green’ or ‘non toxic’ products have a similar number of ingredients as the supermarket brand.


These companies love to play on vague statements. In fact, 11% of greenwashing is done by being vague. Common terms are ‘natural’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘non-toxic’. Water is natural, and can make up to 90% of your shampoo - meaning 90% shampoo is natural. There is often not evidence behind these statements and can based on just one ingredient, other products they sell or the look of the packaging.


26% of Greenwashing is lack of proof and evidence. This one is harder to identify because they usually have examples and comparisons. These are normally old, manipulated or phrased in a way that makes them appear positive for the company.


57% is the ‘trade off’. Maybe only half of a companies clothing is made from recyclable materials, however their website claims to make ‘eco clothing’. Or, a company may claim they use solar power at the factory, however they might have 3 factories and only 1 is run using solar power. The trade off means that somewhere else the company is cutting a corner, in order to maintain an image or statement.

The best thing to do it is buys from brands and companies that have been researched. Companies have to pay for certifications such as palm oil free and cruelty free. The cost associated is for tracing to verify these claims. Don’t believe everything you read and if in doubt call, email or research the brand.

At Sustainable Essentials, we have spent the time researching and talking to brands and companies. We want to make sure that the good you see, runs deep though our brand and the brands we retail.

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