Green washing

If this is the first time you hear this word – Greenwashing.  This is what it means.  Typically, cultural movements ebb and flow and likewise, trends come and go. But as we have experienced our climate self-destruct before our eyes, our short and long-term commitments have transformed. Sustainability is not just as a fun fad, a temporary trend, a momentary movement. It’s become a lifestyle, one that we actively pursue in the hopes of a greener tomorrow.

Seeing how consumers have taken a greater interest in sustainability, many companies have jumped on the sustainability bandwagon to preserve their competitive edge. But remember, no company can simply become sustainable overnight. It takes time, resources, and creativity to truly re-purpose a company’s values, and integrate sustainability into its supply chain. Some brands haven’t put in the work. Instead, they are engaging in greenwashing: a marketing strategy to mislead customers into believing that their products or services are environmentally friendly. Usually this occurs when brands advertise their products as “organic”, “eco-friendly”, “recyclable”, “sustainable” without any proven basis for doing so.

As consumers, we have the collective power to determine the production choices for our economy. Essentially, we can vote with our dollars. However, greenwashing makes that difficult. While social media has helped raised critical awareness about environmental issues, it has also blurred the lines between reality, fantasy and marketing. When bombarded with endless advertisements of the newest, most sustainable product, the consumer’s

Greenwashing comes in many forms.

Here are 8 Shades top ten tips that you can look out for when spending your hard-earned dollars:  

  1. When you encounter an awesome “green” label or claim, spend a couple minutes to look for actual certifications or proven facts.
  2. Educate yourself on what these labels mean, and what responsibilities and requirements they entail in order for a company to use them.
  3. Look at whether the company has actually integrated sustainability into their wider supply chain through company policies or corporate governance. Maybe go on the company’s website and look at what their mission statement pledges are!
    1. For example, not only does Patagonia produce sustainable clothing, it is committed to environmental solutions at all levels of its company. Illustratively, it offers incentives to employees who take public transportation or carpool to work.
  4. Recognize that smaller brands may not have the resources to transform their products line to become entirely green overnight. Nonetheless, see if these brands value transparency and are still making good faith attempts to make change.
    1. Maybe one way to measure their progress is to see how much they are supporting their local communities!
  5. Support local brands! By virtue of having a limited supply chain, local brands have smaller carbon footprints.
    1. These are some local Hong Kong brands that we would like to spotlight:
  6. Demand sustainability from your favourite brands as a consumer!
  7. When you come across an amazing green product, promote it among your family, friends, and colleagues.
  8. Research about what types of companies are more likely to engage in green washing. For instance, recognize how the fast fashion industry, and the thousands of influencers who actively support it, often use green marketing to be trendy.
    1. For more about the fast fashion frenzy, click here….