The term ‘greenwashing’ is a term that is often used in the media, but what exactly does it mean? 

Greenwashing is when a brand claims to have sustainable products and/or practices, without evidence to back it up. Brands have been known to use words such as “eco-friendly” and “conscious”, but consumers would be more inclined to buy into these companies if they were true to their sustainability claims. 

However, we’ve been looking closely at a few brands that do just that. 

UK womenswear brand People Tree uses eco-friendly materials, non-toxic dyes and limits the amount of chemicals, water and wastewater it uses in production. It also has official certifications, including Global Organic Textile Standards, PETA Cruelty Free and Fairtrade, which support the team’s sustainability efforts. 

Pukka Herbs is another brand which stood out for its sustainable practices. Its teabags include organic string, which make them staple-free, plastic-free, compostable and 100% biodegradable. All its packaging is full recyclable, and the company is constantly looking at new ways to improve its carbon footprint. Pukka has impressive ethical, environmental and sustainable certifications, including B Corp, FairWild, Fair for Life, Soil Association and One Percent for the Planet.  

How can brands avoid greenwashing? 

Regulators particularly look for language and broad terms, that could be misleading to consumers, such as “green” or “responsible”. Brands should be clear and concise in their messaging, on what makes them sustainable and eco-friendly.  

To help support claims, brands should provide reputable evidence and up-to-date data to avoid falling onto the greenwashing trap. 

To support their choice of terminology, brands should have reputable evidence to support their claims. With regulations toughening, data should be up-to-date and credible to avoid falling into the greenwashing trap.  

How can consumers avoid falling victim to being greenwashed? 

We’ve put together some signs to look out for you, to help you spot signs of being greenwashed.  

We know many companies and their people are working hard to become net zero carbon, but with everyone making small, conscious changes, we can have a much bigger impact on the planet.  

  • Research into a company’s claims. Brands are often intentionally vague, if more information can’t be found on the website its likely to be a greenwashing tactic  
  • Look out for the labels and certifications, such as Fairtrade Certified  
  • If you spot greenwashing words such as green, natural, eco-friendly, pure, plant-based, responsible and earth-friendly, check for the evidence  
  • Check for minimal packaging. The less materials and ink a company use, the less impact it has on the planet 
  • Buy less. If you’re unsure if a product is trying to greenwash you, don’t make a purchase. The less we consume, the more of a positive impact we have on the planet

If you’re on the road to net carbon zero, find out what you can do to make an impact on the environment by reading our blog: 

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