Greenwashing is a pretty huge topic spanning so many areas and impacting us in so many ways that it can become overwhelming if we really start to give it some thought.
In basic terms greenwashing is where companies or groups or influencers use advertising and public messaging to try to ‘appear’ to be environmentally friendly, sustainable and green, in many cases trying to appear ‘greener’ than they actually are.
Becoming aware of how much we are all impacted by greenwashing in our everyday lives is pretty eye opening. It is far reaching and often hard to spot unless we are really looking for it and it can turn up in some pretty unexpected places, but as more and more of us become aware of what it is we get better at identifying it, questioning it, and challenging it.
In order to start recognising the many subtle examples of greenwashing we face every day we need to start thinking a bit differently and actively start changing our mindset. The old saying of “if it looks too good to be true it probably is” can be adapted and utilised here as a good starting point when thinking about how ‘green’ something really is for example.
We live in a consumer society and culture where the need to continually buy and have new things is drummed into us from every angle from a very early age. We are basically being ‘sold’ to from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to sleep, day after day.
By allowing ourselves the opportunity to pause and ask ourselves the question ‘why?’ when we are about to buy something or are thinking about buying something, we take the first step on the path to changing our mindset. Taking this moment to pause and ask ourselves the ‘why?’ question allows us the opportunity to take a step back and consider a different picture, helping us to stall the automatic pilot of our subconscious.
A great question to here is ‘what am I actually being sold and who is trying to sell it to me?’, because every service and item we buy is being sold to us by someone. Once we pause and ask ourselves this question before we buy anything we have more chance of spotting the many subtle (and unsubtle) greenwashing techniques.
Be warned though, when you start asking yourself this question it can lead to many other questions you’ll want answering!
As consumers we all have the power to choose where and how we spend our money. It really is down to us to educate and inform ourselves, pay more attention to what we are buying, ask more questions and ultimately vote with our wallets. Every penny we spend ultimately has an impact on the environment. Informed, greener, ethical decisions generally have a positive environmental impact.
If you need help recognising and cutting through all the greenwashing and making the right green choices to reduce the environmental impact of your business please get in touch as Achieving Greenness can help.