Greenwashing is a hot topic at the moment as many companies are keen to advertise their green/ecological credentials. Greenwash is the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a products or service.
To help you avoid Greenwash the following 7 guidance notes are available:
- Hidden trade-off – a claim suggesting that a product is “green” based on a small set of attributes without attention to other important environmental issues. For example, energy efficient lightbulbs made in a factory which pollutes rivers.
- No proof – when an environmental claim has been made and cannot be easily validated by supporting information or by a reliable third-party certification.
- Vagueness – when the claim is so vaguely defined or broad that the real meaning is likely to be misunderstood by the consumer.
- False labels – A product that gives the impression via images or words of third-party endorsement where no such endorsement exists.
- Irrelevance – This is a claim that may be truthful but is irrelevant for consumers seeking a environmentally prefable product. For example, products claiming “CFC-free” despite the fact that CFC’s are banned by law.
- Lesser of two evils – a claim that may be true within the product category, but that risks distracting the consumer from the greater environmental impacts of the category as a whole. For example, organic cigarettes.
- Fibbing – these are environmental claims that are no other than false. The most common examples of this are products falsely claiming to be Energy Star rated or registered.