Avoid Greenwashing with a True Green Guide

Why you should care?

Demanding businesses to honor their sustainable and ethical “green” claims encourages transparencies and trackable positive social impact.

by Erin Gentry & Hey Social Good

With Spring here and consistent COVID vaccine rollouts, we’re really and gratefully looking forward to more outdoor activities. This year, those newly sprung flowers and greens will feel particularly glorious!  We might just celebrate with green clothing, green food, and green drinks (yes, we know St. Patricks Day is behind us). On another note, you may also be hearing more about “greenwashing”.  This use of “green” is not nice and we want to give a bit of guidance to ensure you’re not misled by “greenwashing”. See our best way to navigate greenwashing tactics and check out our True Green Guide for buying sustainable and ethical products.

What you need to know

Some brands and businesses speak of “going green” or “living green” and may even offer “green products”. But, these terms are meaningless and likely used as marketing strategies.  The term “greenwashing” describes deceptive or falsified claims made to “market” products as environmentally friendly or sustainable. These tactics may not credibly represent the company’s practices and operations.  It may be challenging to determine authentically eco-friendly companies from those inappropriately using the “green” label. 

According to the European Commission and National Consumer Protection, 42% of claims were deceptive and under EU law, could qualify as unfair commercial practices.  We recommend more care and awareness of misrepresentation of the products. When you come across terms like “all natural”, “ecofriendly”, and “non-toxic”, read a bit more. Read their ingredient list or look for certifications. Below, we curated a True Green Guide for buying sustainable and ethical products, which should help navigate the world of marketing terms. Here’s a few rules of thumb to keep in mind to better avoid “greenwashing” tactics.

Tips for Avoiding Greenwashing

Take out your smartphone and search up the brand’s website URL for the following. Or, take advantage of www.heysocialgood.com and look up the brand, where we officially assessed the companies and awarded medal rankings to those that met our social good assessment criteria.

  1. Know your brands -Does the company have a purpose-driven mission statement and values that align with environmentally conscious product creation?
  1. Transparency is key! A truly environmentally friendly company will provide information regarding their materials, ingredients, and packaging. Read the packaging or check their website to learn more.
  1. Look for Certifications -When in doubt, double check their listed certifications. Crosscheck certifications like Cruelty Free, B Corp, 1% for the Planet, Green Seal, and GOTS to ensure that claims are legitimate.  
  1. It’s a process -No company will be 100% green, so what you’re looking for is if the marketing matches the detailed claims on the website.  Trust your gut, but give credit for effort and green goals. Becoming environmentally friendly is a process that can take time.
  1. Is their data– Is the company tracking or substantiating their sustainability claims? Look to see if they have data to back up their claims. Areas to consider include product ingredients, manufacturing practices, ethical sourcing, product distribution, and waste reduction efforts!  

At Hey Social Good, we track data and assign a  metal ranking to companies based on data. Check out some of our favorite companies and products that authentically embody the theme of going green… without the greenwashing! 

Be GreenClassic Crewneck T-Shirt
Bronze Medal for Sustainability 
Find everyday basics made with certified organic cotton and upcycled fabrics.
Naadam-Cashmere Oversized Boatneck Sweater 
Bronze Medal for Sustainability
Cruelty-free cashmere, GOTS certified, carbon neutral shipping, and 100% recycled plastic used for packaging and mailers.
Platinum Medal for Sustainability 
Ethically produced by female artisans in Malawi using upcycled fabrics in a Zero Waste workshop. 
Tri Thermal Threads Overshirt
Bronze Medal for Sustainability 
Jacket made from 75% Bluesign certified recycled content 
Siizu -Sara Cardigan
Silver Medal for Sustainability 
Sustainably manufactured clothing that’s 100% organic and shipped in reusable poly bags and recyclable packaging.
Solo Eyewear-Repurposed Bamboo Collection 
Making Sustainable sunglasses and supporting efforts to improve preventable blindness

Thesis Beauty
Mermaid’s Cheek Facial Mask
Bronze for Sustainability
Soothe your skin with an organic seaweed and French green clay face mask that is free of preservatives and synthetic ingredients
Bronze Medal for Sustainability  
Sip and support a certified B Corp winery that uses renewable energy and zero waste production chain factory operations.  
Allbirds-Men’s Wool Runner
Sustainability Gold 
These Wool Runners are all around green and a carbon neutral product made with Certified OEKO-TEX bio-based water repellent shield, FSC certified natural rubber, and 100% post-consumer recycled polyester laces
Attitude-Natural Deodorant
Silver Medal for Sustainability
Plastic-free natural deodorant that is Cruelty-Free, EWG verified, and packaged in a biodegradable tube
Whimsy & RowValentina Linen Collection
Bronze for Sustainability
Transparent Slow fashion brand working to eliminate waste from the fashion industry

Keywords: Greenwashing, What Is Greenwashing, Sustainably Produced Products, Sustainable And Green Products, Sustainable Businesses, Organic Fashion, Upcycled Fabrics, Zero Waste, Sustainable Fashion, Sustainably Sourced Products, Go Green, Green Products, Recyclable,Cruelty Free, Bcorp, 1% For The Planet Green Seal,Gots Certified

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