Greenwashing

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Greenwashing

The article by Tiffany Hsu about “greenwashing” touches on the subject of how corporations may be using environmentally friendly advertisement as a marketing scheme, while not really making their products the way they claim. Greenwashing is when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s like whitewashing, but in an environmental sense. A perfect example is when a beauty product company claims its items are organic, natural or eco-friendly, when in reality the company itself doesn’t even have the scientific knowledge of what’s in their product.

The magnitude of this problem is rising at an escalated rate, and even I see this on my regular trips to the grocery store or convenient store. On every shelf these days, there are products with green colors, flags, or shout outs saying they are “eco-friendly!” or “100% organic”, but without doing research about the product and who makes it, it’s hard to tell if you’re being tricked or not. Companies can make millions of dollars by marketing a product the right way, especially in terms of packaging, so obviously large corporations have been following this bandwagon. With little regulations as to what really is green or environmentally friendly, it’s hard to control what companies put on their labels. Many consumers see these labels and automatically think they’re doing something good for the environment, but instead they may just be getting taken advantage of.

The best way to address problems like greenwashing and skewed marketing is to be a careful consumer. Make sure you know what you’re buying and what is in it. Don’t just pick something off the shelf because it looks pretty or because it claims to be made out of certain materials. Try to buy locally produced products with the least amount of chemicals/additives and do your research. It’s easy to...
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