top of page

Greenwashing: An Evil Mask!

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.

Green phone with green background
Green Phone so Eco-friendly 'right'?

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 synthet