Vegan, Cruelty Free, and Sustainable Beauty is officially on the rise (woohoo!). But with this exciting development there’s something to be wary of: Greenwashing.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound. The Cambridge Dictionary says greenwashing is designed “to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.”
Why does Greenwashing matter?
From fashion to beauty and skincare, big brands such as ASOS, Primark, and St Ives are just a few of the many recent culprits of Greenwashing, but so what if they're claiming to be greener than they actually are, right? Wrong!
Greenwashing is not only misleading, but it does little to further beneficial initiatives such as sustainable design or circular economy. This results in little change in environmental problems, and could potentially worsen them as Greenwashing takes the place of vital and legitimate movements, directing well-intentioned customers down the wrong path!
How to spot Greenwashing
Check the stats!
Have a look at what proportion of a company’s product is sustainable? If the company only offers a small range of sustainable products, while the majority of their products are not sustainable and/or create a negative environmental impact, it's likely that the sustainable aspect they are advertising is a form of greenwashing.
Natural isn’t always more eco-friendly
Natural materials such as viscose, palm oil and bamboo are promoted as eco-friendly, but it depends on how they’re sourced. For example, Palm Oil continues to be a major driver of deforestation of some of the worlds most biodiverse areas. The loss of such areas not only contributes to climate change by releasing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, but also destroys the habitats of already endangered species like the Orang-utan, Pygmy Elephant, and Sumatran Rhino.