Updated: Feb 5
Greenwashing is the disinformation of an organisation so that it presents itself in an environmentally responsible public image. Essentially, companies recognise the climate emergency or at least recognise the incredibly large growing mass of people who do and therefore, listening and ensuring their products are eco-friendly sustainable and have a minimal impact. This is a great marketing point, as it allows people to know they share our ethics and will then buy or use their products or services without jeopardising your own ethics and goals. Then here comes Evil Corp. They don’t want to put money in to actually achieve a green, sustainable and eco-friendly business but want to make you believe they are and willing to spend your money with them. This is where greenwashing appears.
Greenwashing can appear in many aspects and it can be hard to tell the signs. Companies will use a number of tricks to paint a product or service as green, eco or ethical from its image, its words used to the “certification” it acclaims to hold. Though there are many ways greenwashing appears, there are still some companies that are good, you just have to do some research or just think about what they are doing and if this meets a green ethic. Some key ways to do this is just by understanding the company and what they deal in, for example it is quite obvious huge fossil fuel companies aren’t really environmentally friendly, yet there can also be quite niche examples. Here are 8 cases of greenwashing you should be aware off:
Volkswagen and Audi used emission cheating software to deceptively advertise diesel vehicle as clean and environmentally friendly, when the were not.
Kauai coffee pods were advertised as 100% compostable with a fine print detailing this had only been certified at “industrial facilities”. The company agreed that this was misleading, as the coffee pods are not certified for backyard compositing.
Ikea noted as a major sustainable corporation have been linked to illegal logging in Ukraine, which is supposedly linked to the wood certification scheme ‘Forest Stewardship Council’ that has been described as greenwashing the timber industry.
Tide purclean detailed their laundry detergent is 100% plant based when it was only 75%, due to this the company agreed to change their packaging to not be so deceptive.
Starbucks released a “straw-less lid” that actually contained more plastic than the old lid and straw combination. Starbucks didn’t even deny this but pressed that it was made from a polypropylene, a commonly-accepted recyclable plastic. However, as only 9% of the world’s plastic is recycled, it is still creating a greater amount of plastic waste.
H&M have used displays and even slogans that are strikingly similar to those used by climate activist, things like “climate crusader”, as well as pictures of eco-activists, which they use as brand ambassadors. This is all to follow the growing sustainability trend. Yet they don’t really practice what they preach. Even their conscious collection, which is marketed as sustainable has higher damaging synthetic material than their main line. Many clothing brands like this also contribute a great amount to textile waste, which often ends in landfill.
BP changed their name to Beyond Petroleum and added solar panels to their gas station, then focused their advertisement on their low-carbon energy products, yet more than 96% of its annual spend is on oil and gas.
Coca-Cola has been ranked the number 1 plastic polluter and with this title they are still currently stating they are not going to abandon their plastic bottles. Yet still advertise that they are sustainable and eco-friendly.
This is just a handful of the greenwashing that goes on every day, there are many more cases of greenwashing, some that are pending, have been settled or dismissed and many more still ongoing. One story I heard detailed a company who produced eco-paint when the only thing eco-friendly about it was that the pot was recyclable. It angers me companies do this, to pray on people good ethics to further line their pockets. It is also annoying that some companies have for years defiled the environment and then switched to eco-friendly alternative or start to and make out like they were green to begin with, again this is misleading and unfair to the companies starting out with the world in mind.
There are many things to look for to find out if a company is guilty of greenwashing and you should be aware of these. Start with a mindset, where you can look at things in the broader sense by questioning a company’s motive, as well as its primary service/product. Also be aware of niche elements of greenwashing for example I am aware how plant based is the future due to often using drastically lest resources and being less harmful to the environment but can actually still contain products that are harmful such as palm oil. Not all palm oil is harmful but it is if done in an unsustainable way. It is also important that greenwashing can appear in all aspects not just when buying something, banks often brand the money you store with them as life changing and help to fund revolutionary (& green) businesses but neglect to mention the life crippling effect they have when invested in fossil fuel conglomerates. Here are some key things to look out for when buying a product or service:
Vague: Often in a companies catchphrase, motto or slogan they will use eco-friendly terminology but that don’t have an actual meaning to how they are green. For example using a broad term like eco-friendly but without noting how.
Imagery: This is used on product labels such as wildlife, trees, nature and the colour green to associate with a green message. Even though this gives the feeling of an eco-friendly products or service this is just a form of green marketing and does not mean anything.
False Certification: Companies use keen catchphrases that make you want to buy their products such as ‘organic, recycled, recyclable, etc. but unfortunately are not. They are just put onto a product or service to get you to buy them. This is often through some self-declaration or certification that has not be vetted. Make sure to check these claims and if it is actually possible for you to achieve e.g. recyclable locally or has to be sent away to the manufacture.
Swindle: Company’s might have a sustainable/eco-friendly product to wave and attract you but then once at their store show numerous other products that don’t meet the environmentally friendly disclaimer of the one that brought you there.
Simply put greenwashing is disgusting and a deceptive act for the rich to get richer with no care for the environment. It is used to trick people who are actually trying to make an active change through conscious decisions with their money, which is plainly upsetting. Therefore, I have tried to shed some light on greenwashing, some cases of it and what to look for, so you do not fall for it. One more part of inspiration that has always stuck with me on greenwashing comes from one of my favourite spoken word artist who gave the following lyrics:
“our revolution is quickly becoming a catchphrase, a colour to paint the walls of our castles, shell corporation the worlds second largest private sector oil company has now marketed itself as a leader in green technology, there new motto ‘we can pass as green if we just put green dye in the gasoline’”
Updated: Dec 18, 2021
Triwa is a fashion accessory company who make bracelets, sunglasses but mostly watches and watch straps. They focus on watches but aim to create them with a symbolic value to allow the wearer to create a modern statement, not to just add another fashion item. This is seen in two of their large collections ‘Time for Oceans’ and ‘Time for Peace’. Due to these great collection of watches their link to sustainability and the great message they are pushing I felt they deserved a short blog post. Here I will go into two of their ranges mentioned above and my own watch I purchased from them.
As mentioned Triwa produce a number of fashion accessories but predominantly watches that help you make a statement. They aim to put stories to a stylish watch, which I believe they succeed in. On top of this they acknowledge that they are ‘not saving the world’ but are innovating a watch with materials, organisations and ambassadors that want to make the world better. They call this 'Time for Change’, which is obviously very fitting. Additionally, as with other sustainable companies I have seen they are also being transparency with us, which is always a great sign of a eco-friendly and ethical company. A key way they achieve this transparency is by calculating their products carbon footprint, so you and they can understand the impact it is having on the planet over time. As I have said before they make a wide range of accessories but below, I go into two of their key ranges that are sustainable.
‘Time for Oceans’ Range
Although I don’t own one, Triwa ‘Time for Oceans’ collection consist of some bright plastic watches on nylon straps that to me have a very much ’summer beach’ vibe. Therefore, if you want a splash of colour to your outfit then you could pick one of these up. What makes them sustainable is that they are completely made from recycled ocean plastic. They state through their partnership with Tide Ocean Material all plastic in the manufacturing is ethically collected from oceans and shore and then cleaned and recycled with the help of solar power. This has three meanings, one to help combat the issue of ocean plastic pollution, two to create a great product from recycled materials and to create a watch that has the statement to stop plastic pollution & to protect our oceans.
‘Time for Peace’ Range
I was lucky enough to get a watch from this collection, the Humanium 39 Recycled Green Super Slim Quartz. As I got this a while ago, I unfortunately did not get the automatic watch they now offer. Nevertheless it is a great watch, which has been running for some time that I wear as my daily beater watch.
Now, I would of gotten the automatic option, as this doesn't contribute to the waste of batteries as the quartz option does. However, as mentioned this was not an option at the time. You might ask how does the watch link into sustainability. Well quite simply through the key aspect of the watch, which is what it is made of. The 'Time for Peace' range is primarily made from Humanium metal, which is made from destructed firearms. This is obviously great, as it is getting rid of a destructive weapon, recycles (or in a way upcycles) and creates a very interesting statement piece with the aim to highlight the issue of gun related violent. As well as the case and face being from recycled resources the strap is made from recycled PET canvas.
On top of this, for every watch sold they give 15% to conflict torn societies and victims of armed violence and have donated over $100,000. What I love about all this is humans can be a little overlooked when looking at sustainability and eco-friendliness. However, ethics should be a huge part of this and should extend to people in sustainable products. I am not sure if it is the green strap or the bright dial but it is probably my most commented on watch. Then when I explain it has Humanium metal people are even more surprised and intrigued about the watch.
Finding sustainable, eco-friendly brands is challenging but can be fun and reward. Especially, when you find a brand like this that incorporates great messages such as 'protecting our oceans’ and ‘ridding the world of illegal firearms’, use of recycled materials and their donations to further protect the planet and even their goal of having ambassadors that want to make the world better. It is clearly a brand you want to support. Watches are one of my passions and clearly so is sustainability, eco-friendliness and ethical living, so finding a great looking unique watch was a must buy. What do you think of the company Triwa and their watches? Also, are their other watches out there that are sustainable, if so let me know in the comments below.
Updated: Feb 5
Well like most of you, I have a phone and want to protect but unfortunately most phone cases out there are made out of plastic, which I am sure I do not need to tell you is not the best option when trying to live sustainably. Additionally, if you are anything like me you are prone to dropping your phone and want to protect it from the glass cracking, scratches and ultimately the phone breaking. So whilst looking for a new eco-friendly, sustainable phone case for my Huawei P30 Pro I came across Pela, who make a wide range of eco-friendly phone cases and other products. I had seen them in numerous social media posts and across the internet in the past but never thought much of them at the time. However, now I am in need of a phone case, I decided to order one and see. Here I go into Pela, my phone case from them and to see what makes them so eco-friendly.
What they offer?
Pela offer a wide range of phone cases, not just your typical iPhone cases many companies do, as well as a number of accessories, all with a variation of colours and patterns. Recently I looked on their site and was presently surprised they offer cases for a wide range of iPhone models and a large array of android phones. I was also incredibly surprised by the fact they even had one for my phone, the Huawei P30 Pro, which is often sometimes too niche for most companies to make one for. They also make cases for air pods, as well as a wide range of accessory items such as smart watchbands, phone grips, cardholders and liquid screen protectors.
What is it made of?
The case I picked up is made of a material they call flaxstic, which uses plant based bioplastic elastomers and flax straw, which is a bi-product of flax oil seeds. All of which allows it to be compostable and biodegradable, which of course is great for the environment and a must if you are trying to go zero waste. Pela currently note that their cases are completely compostable and free from a number of harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, BPA and phthalates, allowing it to return to nature once you don’t want it any more. They also try to use renewable resources helping to reduce any negative impact. Further to all this, all their packing is completely recycled and recyclable and can be composted too. It is clear that Pela are keen to help reduce waste for our planet, whilst creating a great product many need.
The case itself
Now Pela are known for their cases and as I have one, I thought it is only fitting to delve into the case and what I think of it. Firstly, getting the case on and off is very easy, it is very flexible allowing you to easily bend it over the corners of either side of your phone, making it quick to put on and off. It has a nice soft, almost rubbery feel to it but at the same time being matte and grippy, so you are less likely to drop it. Additionally, in my opinion it is quite thicker than most phone covers and has a lip over the front screen, helping to protect the phone all together and the glass from smashing from any accidental drops. I also think it looks nice and has a natural organic vibe, which is in line with the companies goals.
More on Pela
If you are looking for a way to reduce your waste, specifically plastic waste and need a phone case, then Pela is probably your best option. They also do more than create a great sustainable product they also help with your understanding through helping to detail the difference between biodegradable and compostable plastics. Additionally, looking through their website it appears they are a transparent company, which is another trait of eco-friendly, green companies. Even further to all this, they are also Climate Neutral Certified, Certified B Corporation and a proud member of 1% for the Planet. On top of all that they donates a % of every sale to Ocean Clean-up and Preservation Initiatives. So it is clear by purchasing from them you are supporting a company who are working hard to better the planet.
To conclude the pela case is probably one of the most eco-friendly cases you can get today, who also offer a wide range of case and other accessories with a range of colours and patterns. They are a green company who have created a great green product, which I currently believe deserve your support. Let me know what you think of the pela case if you have one or if you are going to get one. Also, if you have seen any other sustainable/ eco-friendly alternative phone cases that you have been looking at, let me know in the comments below.