Decoding the "G" word - EcoGreenLiving

Decoding the "G" word

Greenwashing. As a brand, whose name starts with the word “eco”, we have a lot to say about the topic. If you have been active in the green community in the past few years, phrases such as “sustainable”, “eco-conscious” or “eco-friendly” might give you a shiver. Frankly, we don’t blame you. If you observe yourself from our point of view, who do you see? Are you a devoted Greenpeace member or donor? Do your children attend Fridays for Future strikes? Is your household fully equipped with reusable shopping bags, because you are reluctant to take a plastic bag from the supermarket? You might have responded yes and let us give you a secret: we know you did.

Why would any company subscribe to that?

Responding to demand from customers should be any business’s ultimate goal. If customers start demanding plastic-free alternatives, because they learn about the harmful impact of excess plastic, businesses should supply them. Just like a free market, it works perfectly in theory. If you are expecting a strong “but”, here it comes. Businesses’ willingness to provide authentically ethical goods should increase linearly with consumers’ willingness to pay premium for “eco” products. Unfortunately, jumping on the “green” bandwagon by throwing buzzwords around has become a common practice for brands of all sizes. Companies often overpromise in their commitments to sustainability and then underdeliver.

How do identify greenwashing?

What does it look like? There are different layers to greenwashing and it might appear in a variety of contexts. Have you ever come across a product with random green stickers, resembling a certification? Yet, you were not able to identify the trademark, nor look it up? Chances are, the brand decided to rely on the fact you will not double-check their credentials and the sticker’s only purpose is to reassure you the product is not harmful to the planet. Does it necessarily mean the product will be damaging? No, but at this point, you are not able to find out. Our tip is to always “google” the certifications that companies present themselves with. Who is the authority? What was the product assessment criteria? Sounds like a lot of work, but as a customer, your decision to spend money gives you enormous power. By rejecting to buy from companies, which are not serious in their claims, you are forcing them to adhere to your rules. At Eco Green Living, we are always transparent about our certifications and product features. BioBag bags are made from cornstarch and other bio-based proprietary components (PBAT). They are EN13432 Certified (EU) and ASTM D6400 Certified (USA). The ASTM D6400 is the US test specification for materials, which break down with 0 microplastic remnants. If you ask a company to support their “green” claims, you should expect an answer like that. Don’t forget, certifications are provided by recognisable and respectable bodies, not the company itself. Buying a compostable bag? Just like you ask for the receipt, ask for clear evidence that the product truly meets your eco criteria.

Final word

Unfortunately, companies are often capable of finding grey areas in law, which enable them to take a free ride on the sustainability rollercoaster without providing any real value. Both as an ethical brand and as customers, we need to raise our bar higher and see through the flashy words or packaging. They say we should never judge a book by its cover. Simply using a recycled box for packaging, does not give one authority to claim words such as “sustainable” or “conscious”. However, this is not to say brands should not take pride in their eco journey. Every step towards the reduction of litter counts. As brands, we need to make sure our claims are always 100% true and their purpose is to inform customers, not deceive them into buying under a false pretence, that the product is great for the environment.

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