How to spot and avoid greenwashing

I’m sure I’m not the first one to tell you. It has indeed become more important than ever to support the right businesses. But how can you tell if a company is truly green at heart? Here are 3 tips to help you spot and avoid greenwashing.

Check labels

Look past fancy covers and empty marketing terms. Any brand can give themselves a fake stamp of approval. Instead, look for reliable certificates on tags and packagings. Here are some examples:
– Cosmetic: Ecocert
– Clothing: GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)
– Food: EU biolabel (white stars that form a leaf on a green background)

Use apps

Just because a brand doesn’t have a label, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsustainable. Luckily there are apps that have done the sustainability research for you. Good on You and Rank a Brand are two apps that give an environmental and social score to fashion brands. Rank a Brand hands out reports on electronics, cosmetics and food and beverages as well. Yuka is a handy app that allows you to scan the barcode of a product (cosmetics and food) and gives you information about the ingredients. Go ahead and download these apps, so you’re good to go once this lockdown is over.

Ask questions

How can you tell the difference between a company that is greenwashing and one that is trying its best but just isn’t quite perfect (yet)? This question was asked during the Festival of Equality and I liked the answer that was given. The difference lies in transparency. Is a company or shop open about both the accomplishments and the weaknesses?

Try to find out more about a company on their website. See if you can find the answers to these questions:
– Which materials / ingredients are used?
– What is the packaging made of?
– Where was it made and how did it get here?
– Who made it? In which conditions?

Remember: a company doesn’t have to ace every question. It is possible that they’re working with ingredients from abroad, but that they make sure they pay a fair price. Transparency is more important than perfection. If you can’t find the information you are looking for, get in touch with the company.

In dit YouTube filmpje ga ik zelf aan de slag en onderzoek ik de labels op mijn haarproducten. Ik scan de producten ook met de Yuka app.

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