“The activity of a company or organisation intended to make consumers believe that it is concerned about the environment, even if the said company or organisation actually harms the environment”
A common form of greenwash, is to ‘publicly claim a commitment to the environment whilst quietly lobbying to avoid regulation.’
Essentially it is a marketing spin or ploy by a business to make you believe that they are invested in eco-friendly, ethical practices when the reality could be quite the opposite.
In their quest to appeal to the much aware millennial buyers, many brands now claim to fit into the ‘green’ category, even if this is technically not the case.
The new generation of buyers are very conscious of their choices and know exactly what they want.
Of course the advertising and marketers will go out of their way to appeal to this large segment.
It starts with claims of eco-friendly packaging for example, pretty green leaves and waterfalls enticing the consumer to believe that theirs is a good, sustainable brand,
Then perhaps they will move on to bigger claims labelling themselves ‘organic’, ‘all natural’, ‘eco friendly’.
This type of marketing is unfortunately very unregulated and therefore it can be easy to mislead customers, for example a product legally in the UK has to contain just 1% of an organic ingredient and the whole product can then be called organic, even if it is loaded with pesticides in the other 99%.
Another example is skincare brands greenwashing customers into believing they are ‘natural’ by printing ‘made with pure argan oil’ on the front of the box, whilst the ingredients on the back may reveal that it is only 1%, in an otherwise man made chemical formula.
Customers who are looking to invest in a skincare product that upholds ethics, sustainable farming, no animal cruelty, plant-based formulas, reduced carbon footprint and so on, may be lead to believe these values are upheld with greenwashing, which is essentially false advertising..
There are global certifications like ECOCERT, COSMOS, PETA and CRUELTY FREE INTERNATIONAL that brands can earn to solidify their status.
These independent organisations routinely inspect production facilities and test formulas, compelling brands to be honest and transparent about all their processes, while upholding certain standards in the industry.
You should however check that the logos used in advertising are genuine, (see our genuine certification logos below)…Yes, even logos are fabricated and bogus to make customers believe that a brand really cares.
When a brand displays this logo on their packaging, it means that the company does not test on animals and does not contain animal-derived ingredients.
It is considered the golden standard for certifying the ethical status of brands. It signifies pretty much the same thing as the PETA logo, and also that the brand does not sell to countries that test on animals.
Buy products where all the packaging features this logo indicating that the bottles and packaging are suitable for recycling.
Ecocert is an organic certification orgranisation originally based in France.
When a product is COSMOS ECOCERT certified, you can be rest assured that 95%+ of its ingredients are of natural origin, establishing global standards for the skincare market, and give brands a seal of approval.
The COSMOS Organic Certification ensures protection for vulnerable plants and is cruelty and GM free, and the ingredients contained are at least 95% organic. (The PÜRE Collection is COSMOS Organic)
COSMOS Natural, on the other hand, is for for products that maybe can not receive organic status but are still planet-friendly. The ingredients contained are at least 50% organic.
Organic is essentially a type of farming and not all ingredients are farmed, for example sea water contains phytoplankton that is harvested but not farmed.
In order to know when you may see greenwashing, it is important to decide for yourself what you consider acceptable in your skincare products.
Look for actual evidence that backs up claims that a business is ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco-friendly’.
It never does any harm to ask a brand if you are not sure on their eco credentials, just talk to a brand you like the look of, and if they are truly doing their bit, they will be more than happy to talk to you about it.
Testing for harmful substances.
Environmentally friendly production.
Safe and socially responsible working conditions.
Do be aware that sometimes, to shop with brands that do not greenwash, you may need to invest a little more money.
Do be wary of buying super cheap.