Corporate Greenwashing (& How To Avoid Falling For It)

Corporate Greenwashing (& How To Avoid Falling For It)

Being in the “green” or “eco” industry, Reencle is (rightfully so) under a microscope when it comes to our intentions and involvement in the environmental movement. Corporate greenwashing is a fear that many people have begun having when it comes to brands and companies who claim to be doing good for the environment. But first, what does corporate greenwashing mean?

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Corporate greenwashing is when companies or businesses make intentionally false claims about their environmental performance/contributions in order to mislead people to seem more environmentally conscious than they actually are.

A big issue with greenwashing is that consumers can be misled into purchasing something they believe to be beneficial for the environment, when they’re not any different from other products/brands. These companies could also be participating in slowing down ecological progress if they’re not investing in eco-friendly practices.

Photo Credit: Jess Morgan

One of the most common forms of greenwashing is the use of vague or misleading language on product packaging or in advertising. For example, a company may claim that a product is "all-natural," without providing any information about what ingredients are used or how the product is made. Another example is when a company claims that a product is "recyclable" or "biodegradable" without providing any information about the conditions under which those claims are true.

Many corporations are courageously outspoken about being "eco-friendly", while they hide their real practices behind closed doors.

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Some corporations also practice greenwashing when they exaggerate the environmental benefits of their products. An example of this is using the phrase “carbon neutral” or even companies who claim their packaging to be recycled materials - only to have plastic underneath the paper covers. Some of these claims can be challenging to cross-check or verify, which is why these companies are able to get away with their false claims while not taking any meaningful action in reducing their environmental impact. 

Reencle is an indoor composting machine, and we occasionally get questions or concerns regarding our part in greenwashing and being eco-friendly. It’s sometimes misunderstood that we aim to replace traditional composting as we know it, which is untrue.

The goal of Reencle is to make composting accessible to those whom it may not have been before. For example, those who stay in condominiums and have busy schedules may not have the space, time or ability to commit to the rather full-time nature of traditional composting methods. We also wholeheartedly value transparency, as we don’t claim to be the answer to all-things composting. As aforementioned, Reencle aims to make composting an accessible habit to people whose lives may not click seamlessly with traditional composting. 

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That being said, it’s understandable that brands like Reencle can be under scrutiny in terms of genuineness, and we encourage consumers to continue asking the right questions surrounding this topic. Unfortunately, corporate greenwashing is a growing concern. It isn’t fair nor right that consumers are at risk of buying products they believe align with their beliefs and values, only to find out they were intentionally misinformed. 

It’s important to voice your concerns to corporations and to have a transparent relationship with the companies you’re purchasing from. Educating yourself is also extremely important, as it can help you avoid falling for phrases like “all-natural”, “biodegradable” and “recyclable”. You can also research the environmental performance and certifications that a company has, as it can prove or disprove their claims.

ďťżPhoto Credit: Kristina Litvjak

All in all, it’s never a bad idea to err on the side of caution. Thankfully, with the wide range of resources available to us these days, a little discernment and research could go a long way. As companies, we also have the responsibility to be transparent and honest with our consumers, as honesty also goes a long way. 

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