Unmasking deceptive greenwashing

What is greenwashing? 

Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers by making false or overstated environmental claims in hopes to win over the eco-conscious customer, while undermining authentic efforts towards sustainability. Untrustworthy claims made by greenwashing brands divert attention and resources away from authentic sustainable activities, creating a negative impact on both consumers and the environment. 

Image shows a women in a white mask behind green plants. Greenwashing.


Consumer aware – company beware 

Consumers are becoming ever more vigilant and critically analyze environmental claims made by companies to avoid falling victim to greenwashing. They do this by being able to pinpoint vague terminology or lack of certifications to authenticate company claims. 

Image of man with green smoke over his face. Greenwashing.

Image of a man with a green smoke fog over his face.

Companies that actively pursue sustainability are more likely to be fully transparent with their customers and consumers by sharing and celebrating their efforts through data, recognized third-party certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or EcoVadis, they are more likely to provide regular updates on their environmental goals, sharing and boasting of their achievements.

Therefore, customers and consumers are becoming increasingly observant to the absence of transparency by brands and making more conscious decisions on where to shop. As the momentum behind greenwashing increases improved guidelines and procedures by governments and regulatory bodies are needed to hold dishonest businesses accountable. 

Most importantly for the customer and the environment, companies should be accountable for their corporate responsibility. They can do this by investing in eco-friendly initiatives and providing transparent, up-to-date, accurate information to consumers to help build consumer trust.  

Companies that do this will enjoy the benefits of the genuine efforts of sustainability. This can be achieved by: 

  • Clear communication and avoiding misleading or vague claims. 
  • Keeping up to date. Sharing goals and updates and staying transparent when we lose track or targets are not being met – explaining why and provide a new plan of action. 
  • Seeking third-party independent verification to validate environmental claims. 
  • Educating employees to enable more environmentally conscious decisions and taking accountability. 
  • Ensuring sustainable practices are inherent in a company’s DNA rather than just a marketing slogan 

Through collective efforts by companies, consumers, and the government, we can uncover greenwashing practices and encourage a shift towards genuine sustainability, safeguarding our planet for future generations. Combating greenwashing requires collective action from consumers, regulatory bodies, and responsible businesses, beginning with consumer education, learning about greenwashing practices and recognising accredited certifications, we can enable everyone to make informed choices.  

To read about APS Group’s current environmental goals and where we’re at, head here. 

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