Greenwashing is a manipulative marketing practice that makes consumer’s feel that products or services are environmentally friendly.
This ploy tricks customers into believing that their purchase has more of a positive environmental impact than is accurate. It helps companies gloss over and hide most forms of environmental exploitation.This greenwashing phenomenon is everywhere but is particularly rife in the fashion and beauty industry.
Why are companies greenwashing us?
With a mass increase in public awareness of our current climate crisis, the pressure from consumers and the government, for large companies and corporations to reduce their impact on the environment has rocketed. With environmentally sustainable products in huge demand, many companies are rushing to exploit and capitalise on this new wave of ethical consumers.
Why is it an issue?
Greenwashing is not only manipulating but also dangerous. It undermines companies that have adopted sustainable practices and processes, making it harder for ethical consumers to support the businesses that are truly sustainable and care about their impact on the planet. Long-term, it also erodes consumer and stakeholder trust in genuinely sustainable brands.
Furthermore, the more time, effort and energy companies spend on marketing their products as being eco-friendly, the less time they spend on making truly sustainable changes.
How to tell a company is greenwashing?
As consumers, we must hold companies to account through questioning sustainability initiatives and demanding transparency. Being aware of greenwashing practices is the first step to undermining their effectiveness. Here are 8 things to watch out for:
- They contain suggestive imagery portraying the product as being environmentally friendly – this often includes green colours, plants, and animals.
- Their descriptions include jargon -Information that only a scientist could check or understand.
- Includes the ‘recyclable’ hook. For example, a plastic package containing a new shower curtain is labelled “recyclable.” It is not clear whether the package or the shower curtain is recyclable. In either case, the label is deceptive if any part of the package or its contents, other than minor components, cannot be recycled.
- Understand what proportion of the product or service is sustainable? If it is a minimal proportion, whilst the rest creates a negative environmental impact then the product isn't sustainable.
- Are there any hidden trades offs? For example, energy-efficient light bulbs made in a factory that pollutes rivers or a single vegan product in a cosmetics line that is known to test on animals.
- Random big eco-friendly marketing ‘campaigns. On close inspection, the business has spent more on the marketing campaign than on the environmentally sound practices themselves.
- When the business pushes the social responsibility of the corporation to the individual. The packaging may be recyclable but it’s down to YOU to do your research in what parts can be recycled and how.
- The eco claim is just a one-off. Have a look at what else the business is doing? Does the company donate to sustainable or environmental causes? Do they experiment or invest in more biodegradable materials? Do they support community or individual activism? Quality brands have genuine conservationism built into their DNA, so shouldn’t have a one-off claim.
10 reasons why can you put your trust in KiteNest
- Harmful chemicals used in hair wax instigated the birth of KiteNest. Whilst we were backpacking through the pouring rain in the peaks, Markus’ hair wax ran into his eyes, and it stung! What the heck was in the wax? Why did it hurt so much? Maybe we could create something better? Something more natural? We embarked on an investigation. What on earth are all these nasty chemicals in products? What damage impact do they cause on the planet? On our skin and hair? What ingredients qualify as ‘natural’? Which ingredients are best for both hair and the planet? We learnt an awful LOT! We kicked off operation KiteNest - experimenting with making our hair waxes. Ever since, we’ve been running our business as sustainability as possible since day one, making clear goals on how to transition to a zero-waste business.
- With your support, we went entirely plastic-free in 2020.
- We put our ethos and ethics before everything we do, but that doesn't mean that your finished product will be any less amazing. Our clean conscious cosmetics won't only help the planet, but they'll make you feel incredible too. All our products are handmade from scratch in small batches. We do this in our custom-built workshop in Lincoln.
- All KiteNest products are 100% natural, cruelty-free and don't include any harmful ingredients like SLS or parabens.
- We’ve been raising awareness of key polluting and environmental issues such as the link between plastic and climate change, the damage caused by disposable wipes and how microplastics are entering our oceans.
- We never test on animals. We believe that testing products on animals are wrong and unnecessary. That doesn't mean that you can't be confident in the quality of the products we create. All our products are fully certified and comply with all cosmetic safety regulations.
- Our products are made from natural ingredients using renewable energy. We don't use unsustainable ingredients that negatively impact the delicate ecosystems of our planet, regardless of whether they are natural.
- We’ve always provided a range of educational resources to help empower you to live more sustainably including reducing your water consumption, cutting out plastics on a budget, cleaning your house in an ultra eco way and embracing eco-friendly periods.
- We donate profits to good causes. Your support has enabled us to donate to Shelter, Rewilding Britain and The Wildlife Trusts.
- All our products and packaging are 100% plastic-free. Our leaflets and boxes are FSC certified, and our packaging tape is 100% biodegradable. Our gift cards and ingredients are printed on wildflower seed cards.