Here are some tips on how to be a savvy shopper who consistently gets past the greenwashing.
Companies have caught on to the fact that going green means business. Everyone is jumping on the green bandwagon, making claims of being “all natural,” “non toxic,” and “eco-friendly” in hopes of attracting the attention of consumers. The problem is, these claims are often not authentic. There aren’t many regulations in terms of what companies can put on their packaging, which means that consumers have to use their own skills of critical assessment to determine whether or not a company is green for real. Here are some things to look for:
Watch for specific statements.
If an item has green-sounding phrases such as “natural” and “eco-friendly” without providing any further information, it’s probably not true. A company that has real relationships with certifiers such as organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Oeko-Tex, B Corp, etc. will make that loud and clear. They will sing their product’s virtues without hesitation and explain in considerable depth why and what they do.
Look for mission statements online.
A company’s mission statement can go a long ways toward revealing their true environmental intentions. Visit a website such as Patagonia’s, for example, and see how impressively different it is from most other clothing retailers. Patagonia lists the specific textile mills and sewing factories for every piece it sells, setting a high standard for transparency. This is different from other retailers, many of which have “environmental commitment” sections on their websites but actually say very little, when you examine them closely.
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