As a communications and media student I'm aware of the methods that can be used by companies or organizations to make them look shiny and fluffy. I can either be very critical of an advertising campaign, because I see what a company is trying to do, or I can applaud an advertising campaign, because I see what a company is trying to do. Since Another Story For Tomorrow is a conscious lifestyle blog I only thought it would be fitting to also create conscious media use as a reoccurring topic on here. A topic in which I explain how I use media in a mindful manner, and also share my perspective as a communications and media professional to be.
In this post I'll explain what greenwashing is, how you can recognize it, and what you can do about it. I'm discussing greenwashing, because I think awareness of this marketing/public relations method is important, especially when you want to be a conscious consumer.
What is greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a marketing/public relations method used by companies or organizations that want to appear environmentally friendly, or show awareness of societal issues. Greenwashing is often associated with companies that try to do good in order to boost their corporate social responsibility, but aren't practicing their good deeds at the core of the company. For example, a company can publicly support an environmental organization, but the company does nothing to make their production of products sustainable.
How can I recognize greenwashing?
A lot of companies have some kind of statement about their mission for sustainability, and vaguely state something about the environmental awareness of the company. Pay attention to how these statements are written and how much information is actually given. 'We want to be sustainable' and 'This is how we make sure that our production is sustainable and ethical' offer two completely different realities. When a company is transparent about their production process and circumstances, it is much more likely that a company is actually trying to be as sustainable as possible, because they're showing you what they're doing to be sustainable.
What can I do about greenwashing?
To put it simply, don't fall for it. Be aware of what greenwashing is, and be critical of the companies your buying from. You can also make companies aware of the fact that you are of what they're doing, or at least question their motives when they make a statement about being green. In some cases companies aren't aware that they're greenwashers, so make them aware that they can't support A, and do B.