Debunking Greenwashing Claims: When Green is not so Clean

SoPure - Debunking Greenwashing Claims: When Green is not so Clean

We don’t normally talk about airing out dirty laundry, but sometimes we have to make an exception. So let’s talk greenwashing – a practice that misleads you into buying products and brands that are supposedly “natural, eco-friendly, non-toxic and chemical-free”.

Buckle up darling, you may be being duped.

These products and brands are simply trying to polish a poo by disguising themselves as environmentally friendly – when in reality, they’re not. Brands falsely appear to care while increasing profit margins, thoughtlessly duping eco-conscious warriors who want sustainable products.

So how do you spot the greenwash jabber?

There’s a lotta smoke and mirrors but when you dig just a little deeper, you realise these products are still bad for the planet all in the name of bulking up wallets.

SOPURE - Debunking Greenwashing Claims: When Green is not so Clean

Here’s an easy go-to guide:

CAPPING (for those a tad older than gen Z, this is lying)

In other words, they’re outright lying by making false environmental claims. This includes misleading marketing and PR theatrics while continuing to use toxic ingredients or unsustainable practices. Companies are constantly coming up with new and brilliant ways to deceive us. If this sounds ominous, it is.

Helpful hack:

  • Get familiar with recent greenwashing examples. Awareness of the tricks they use can help you spot others more easily.

  • Check to see if the claims are true by asking for certifications or stamps of approval from organisations such as B Corporation, or certifications such as Fair Trade or Cradle to Grave.

  • If a brand holds a sustainability certification, they'll proudly shout about it on their packaging, website or social media platforms. Look for actual evidence.

When VOGUE is Oh So VAGUE

A classic greenwashing tactic by brands to say a whole lot while saying nothing at all, delivering zero specificity about their ingredients, packaging, fair trade policy or operations. These claims are often so poorly defined or broad that consumers can’t quite understand them. Using ‘all-natural' is a great example. However, arsenic, uranium, mercury, and formaldehyde are all naturally occurring compounds – they are also highly toxic and poisonous. So all that is natural isn’t necessarily green, or for that matter, good for you.

Helpful hack:

  • Read review ratings. 

  • Ask Questions. Brands that are looking to do better are often open to talking about their journey and plans for the future and demonstrate that sustainability is important to them.

See no evil, do no evil…or just the devil we know

Brands simply slap on a sticker to justify that what they are doing is the lesser evil. So how about – No! These environmental claims may have some truthfulness to them but are unimportant or unhelpful for consumers seeking eco-friendly products. Their purpose is to distract you from the greater environmental impacts the brand may be guilty of implementing.

Helpful hack:

  • Do your research and look for authenticity. If the brand is doing its bit, this won’t be a tough exercise.

  • While some brands do have an epiphany and want to get out of “toxic relationships”, more often than not opportunism, rather than values, is at play.

Nothing to do with the price of eggs

In other words, irrelevant information. Stating they don’t use ingredients that are already deemed illegal.

Helpful hack:

  • Inorganic Arsenic has been illegal in SA since 1983. A company stating that they don’t use them has nothing to do with being more environmentally friendly because they aren’t allowed to use this product anyway. See where we’re going here.

Hiding behind a singular hero ingredient

Claiming to be environmentally friendly when only one of their 30 ingredients is environmentally friendly.

Helpful hack:

  • Check that the brands cleaning products are free of nasty toxins and harmful chemicals – just as they claim. Google is a great helping hand here.

  • Make sure that this is a brand that walks its talk and strives to find impactful solutions.

All talk no action with no proof cos there’s no pudding

Making environmental claims that cannot be verified.

Helpful hack:

  • If a brand makes it hard to find information, chances are they’re greenwashing, have something to hide, or just don’t value it enough to make it easy to find. 

  • If the brand has a history of being an eco-activist brand, it's a sure sign that they are not greenwashing – because they strive to be sustainable.

  • Do they have ethical working conditions?

  • Promoted sustainability long before it was a trend to hop on for “likes” and profits.

  • The majority of their plastic packaging consists of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic.

SoPure - Natures Laboratory - When Green is not so Clean.

Greenwashing is giving real Eco-Warriors and supporters of mother nature a bad rep.

It does mean that consumer attention, support and cash get diverted away from authentic products and solutions with real credentials, like SoPure, that make a difference and positively care for our happy planet.

Hence, the dangerous cycle continues. So, what’s the point? How does this affect you and me? There are many of us wanting to make small changes that will help see a collective positive impact on the environment.

Greenwashing ultimately deceives all of us into thinking we’re doing something good when all we’re doing is enabling the problems. The very real problem is that mother nature could do with our help because we’ve gotta clean up the mess made. One small, true change is one more win for our planet. So, which side are you on?

Choose authentically healthy products for healthy people and a healthy planet that are clean, kind and forever.