Green or Greenwashed? 9 Ways to Notice if a Brand’s Truly Eco-Friendly

With the rise of global environmental concerns and demand for sustainable business practices, it’s easy for companies to slap green marketing onto their products, and fool customers into thinking they’ve made eco-friendly choices when they’re not.

So how do you make sure you’re buying truly sustainable products, and not greenwashed brands that aren’t as sustainable as they sound? In this blog post, we’re dishing you things to watch when deciding if a brand’s truly sustainable, and red flags to notice if they’re greenwashing us!

Things to watch

  1. Materials

All product components should be zero waste and not be single-use, including the product’s packaging. They should be recyclable, reusable or compostable!

    2. Ingredients

If they’re products with ingredients, you need to check if all of their ingredients are earth-friendly. Are they made out of items that harm our planet? This could be viewed from different angles, too.

Perhaps they contain things like palm oil, a big cause of our deforestation causes. Or maybe they have microbeads, tiny forms of plastics that pollute our oceans.  Either way, ensure that your products aren’t made out of earth-destructing materials, but earth-friendly ones!

     3. Quality

Are they durable? A big part of sustainable living is in both buying and discarding less. True eco-friendly products should be long-lasting and not things that are thrown into landfills after a few uses.

    4. Fairtrade

Sustainable products should not be only earth-friendly, but their production practices should also be fair and kind. Who makes their products, where are they produced and how are the working conditions? 

    5. Company mission

Going on their company’s website and finding their mission statement is an easy way to determine if a brand is truly sustainable or not. Do they actually care about making a difference?

If you’re not sure what things to look out for in a company statement, don’t fret. Because up next, we’ll be going through red flags you should watch out in greenwashed brands! 

You can easily evaluate these things in one’s company mission to determine if they’re truly making a difference, or they just want to reap more profits from slapping environmental marketing onto their products.

Red flags to look out for

  1. Use of the words “natural,” “green,” “earth-friendly,” and so on

Often, greenwashed brands use these words liberally to cover up their lack of sustainable practices, or worse, unsustainable practices.

But remember that the brands doing it right might use these words too, so do your homework. Dig deep into the company further when you find this red flag, and investigate further if they’re sustainable!

     2. Fluff language

Are they only using fluff language that gives the appearance of caring for the environment? A great way to disprove this is if they have tangible examples of their sustainable business practices, or if the environmental problem they’re solving is of legitimate concern, not a made-up one for the business.

    3. Their statistics

A lack of statistics could be a red flag. But not only that, if they do have statistics, look at where their statistics come from too - are they from trustworthy sources?

    4. Brand trustworthiness

Company reviews really tell if they’re a trustworthy brand or not. But it’s not all about what star rating they have - look for the keywords their customers used in their reviews. Do they mention the product’s sustainability practices?

If you’re not sure on what keywords to look out for, refer to the first four things we mentioned in this blog post! Ensure they’re of great quality, contain earth-friendly and non-damaging materials, practice fair labour and all of their materials are sustainable.

Take our quiz to see what plastic free and sustainable products fit you the best!

Article written by Dan Saputra

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