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Trying to lead a more sustainable life, reducing your impact on the environment as much as you can, is a very noble and worthwhile pursuit… and, indeed, a very necessary one as well, given just how deep the climate crisis is.
A good first step to take when trying to be more eco-friendly is to do some research into the different products that are available to help you achieve your goals, as well as the different brands that also operate with sustainability in mind.
And research really is incredibly important, otherwise you could find yourself supporting businesses that you believe to be green but which are, in fact, quite the opposite.
This is where the problem of greenwashing comes in and it’s something to be aware of if you only want to spend your hard-earned money with brands that really do care about the planet.
Greenwashing is where businesses make false claims that their products or services are environmentally friendly, purely for marketing purposes, when they aren’t actually trying to be very sustainable at all.
An exclusive report in the Independent has just revealed that greenwashing, sadly, appears to be on the rise, with the number of adverts banned for the strategy tripling in a year.
Apparently, in the last 12 months, 16 ad campaigns made exaggerated claims about their brand’s green credentials or made statements about the environment that couldn’t be supported. Some of the ads came from some big-name and very familiar brands, including Oatly, Alpro and Innocent Drinks.
Advertising Standards Authority spokesman Toby King suggested that the increase in ads being banned could be down to the fact that people are now more concerned and more educated about both the climate emergency and greenwashing itself.
“We have done a lot of work to let people know, when you see an ad for green claims, we are the guys you come to if you think it is inaccurate or may not be telling the truth,” he said. “I think we are seeing a sea change in public understanding of green claims, and people want to buy ethically in a green way. We all want to do our bit.”
Spotting greenwashing can be difficult for us, the consumer, however - but there are little things to look out for that can help you stay on track with your sustainability goals.
Remember… even if a brand does produce a line of products that are sustainable, if they still make most of their money from unsustainable goods, they can’t really be considered an eco-conscious brand.
Always look for evidence when eco claims are being made by brands, as well. If you can’t find any facts or figures that support what they’re saying, you may want to steer clear of shopping with that particular business. Be suspicious of buzzwords1
And, of course, look out for certifications from the likes of Cradle to Grave and Fair Trade, both of which tell you immediately that you’re dealing with an ethical business.
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