What is greenwashing and how to avoid it

Written by Sophie Barrow

What is greenwashing and how to avoid it

Greenwashing is a play on 'brainwashing', but directed at the food and beauty industry. In essence, it's a way to trick consumers into thinking they're buying healthier and more eco-friendly products through creative branding.
Greenwashing takes numerous forms, from phrases such as 'sustainably produced', to earthy packaging and imagery associated with health and nature. But this kind of branding can be deceptive and does not always mean that products are as wholesome as they appear.
In our opinion, the WORST kind of false branding is calling a product organic, when it is not certified or even mostly organic. Sometimes products which contain one ingredient that is organic are branded as organic, when actually they would not qualify as certifiably organic.
Unfortunately for consumers, greenwashing is legal. This means that we have to stay informed when looking for healthy, eco-friendly or organic products. Here are some pointers to help.

Read the label 

Sadly, packaging and branding isn't a clear indicator. The most fool-proof way of determining whether a product is eco-friendly is to read the label. This might involve some google searching until you familiarise yourself with certain ingredients, but once you get in the swing of it, this won't take too much time at all.

Beware of branding!

Brands that use earthy packaging aren't always the healthiest option. This goes for any other branding techniques: healthy photos, wholesome illustrations… and of course taglines. The only way to really tell if branding isn't misleading is to read the label!

Look for proof

Look for proof that the products you buy are actually what they brand themselves as. In other words: check for certifications. Products that are actually certified organic etc flaunt their certifications so won't be hard to find!! 

Here are some trustworthy certifications to look out for: 

  • Soil Association - one of the UK's leading organic certifier, offering a wide range of organic and sustainable certification schemes. KINN products are Soil Association certified! 
  • Green Mark - provides an internationally recognised environmental certification for companies that want to assure their clients and employees that they are conducting business to recognised environmental standards. 

The Takeaway 

Do your research - if you're serious about buying organic, healthy or eco-friendly products, it's important to know what to look for. The tips above are a good start, but it's really helpful to know what kinds of ingredients are a no-go and what the red flags are. 

If you have anymore tips for our readers don't forget to comment below!

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