What are the 7 signs (sins) of greenwashing?

With increasing attention to climate change and consumer awareness of green issues, the temptation to give a green image to attract customers is very high. However, if the statements do not match the substance, the risk is to slip into the pattern of greenwashing, namely giving oneself a veneer of being an environmentally conscious company even though this is not the case.

Greenwashing refers to a communication or marketing technique pursued by companies, institutions and entities that pitch their activities as environmentally sustainable, extolling the positive effects of some initiatives while trying to conceal the negative environmental impact of others or of the company as a whole.

Here are the 7 signs (also known as “sins”) behind which the risk of greenwashing lies:

  1. 1) Omission of information (hidden trade-off)

    Leveraging aspects of apparently sustainable products by omitting relevant information about the environmental impact of them.
  2. 2) Lack of evidence (no proof)

    Bragging about green characteristics of certain products or the production activity itself without having evidence or (third-party) certifications to back up what is being said.
  3. 3) Lack of clearness (vagueness)

    Providing information that would actually be subject to broader interpretation (examples: “made with natural ingredients,” “made using eco-friendly methods,” “made the old-fashioned way”).
  4. 4) False label worshiping (worshiping of false labels)

    Products with false labels bearing symbols of specific certifications or endorsements that they do not actually have, or even exist.
  5. 5) Insignificance (irrelevance)

    Providing information that has nothing to do with the environment and sustainability but somehow makes the consumer perceive the product in front of them to be green and sustainable.
  6. 6) The lesser of two evils (lesser of two evils)

    Descriptions with true information but hiding something worse.
  7. 7) Lying (fibbing)

    False messages in advertisements or on packaging.
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      Bit #7: Greenwashing