What is Greenwashing and Why is Research Important?

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What is Greenwashing and Why is Research Important?

spray bottle

What is greenwashing? The term “greenwashing” is a form of misleading marketing.

It is used by some personal care organization and other companies to promote the perception that their organization’s products or their policies are environmentally friendly. source 

In other words, it is an organization claiming that their products cause minimal or no harm to the ecosystems, the environment or people’s health, when in reality it can. 

How Companies Use Greenwashing When Advertising Their Products?

1. Changing the name or label claiming that the product is considered to be green, organic or all natural, when in reality it does contains some harmful chemicals.

2. A company using advertising campaigns portraying highly polluting energy companies as eco-friendly. 

3. They make irrelevant claims or false advertising in order to get more customers.

4. Claiming that their organization is sustainable, use safe practices and doesn’t harm the environment without any evidence of those claims. 

Why do Some Companies Use Greenwashing?

Lets face it, with all the pollution, chemicals in the atmosphere and health issues on the rise, people are looking for more natural and safer alternatives.

Sadly, some organizations care about the profit before thinking about the environment. Therefore, in order to sell more products, they use greenwashing as a way to make more profit.

Unfortunately, standards for the personal care and cosmetics industry in most countries are incredibly low.  Regulations suggest that some ingredients don’t even have to be listed on products.  

Of course, greenwashing has been used by many companies for a long time, but unfortunately, it has been on the rise since the last few years because the demand for organics has been growing in the personal care industry. 

Why is Research Important and How to Avoid Greenwashing?

Researching before buying your products is important in order to keep you and your family safe.

Here are some things you can do to make sure that your products are safe, and for you not to fall into the trap of misleading information:

1 – Always read the ingredients on your product. If you cannot pronounce many ingredients, chances are that they are chemicals and might not be safe. 

In fact, you want to make sure that the ingredients are safe because what you put on your skin is absorbed in your blood stream, so it can be harmful to your health. 

Avoid these ingredients:

BHA and BHT
DEA
Phthalate
Formaldehyde
Parabens
Fragrance
PEG compounds
Petrolatum
Siloxanes
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Triclosan

2 – Learn more about how to identify toxic substances in your products. here 

3 – Read about the history of the company and make sure they are really sustainable.

4 – Look for an Organic Certification logo. For example: USDA Organic or certified by the ACO.  

Conclusion

Finally, you learned what greenwashing is and why it is important to do your research before purchasing a product. You also learned some things you can do to keep you and your family safe. 

Do you have more tips on how to avoid greenwashing?

Sources

Field S.
Sustainable business makes dollars and sense.
Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Mar;110(3):A142-5.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11882490

Eluxe Magazine
Misleading Marketing: Beware of Greenwashing
http://eluxemagazine.com/magazine/greenwashing/

Drea Knufken
Business Pundit Expert Driven.
The Top 25 Greenwashed Products in America
Posted on March 2, 2010 in Business
http://www.businesspundit.com/the-top-25-greenwashed-products-in-america/

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About Veronique

Veronique is an eco geek who’s passionate about organics, green-living, helping the environment and living a sustainable lifestyle. She spent years researching on ways to improve her health and help the environment. She’s an entrepreneur on a mission to share her healthy organic habits with others.

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