WHAT IS GREENWASHING AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
Last Updated: 09/27/2019
It’s time to talk about greenwashing.
The word is out and corporations are taking notice that consumers are making sustainability a top priority, and that is a powerful thing. According to Nielsen's Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of consumers would spend more money on a product coming from a sustainable brand and among millennials that number jumps to 72%. You know what that means? That means when consumers talk, big business listens.
WHAT IS GREENWASHING + WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
green•wash•ing | \ ˈgrēn-ˌwȯ-shiŋ , -ˌwä-\
A superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is shown by an organization.
Greenwashing was coined by Jay Westerveld, an American environmentalist, who in 1986 first coined the term in an essay examining the “save the towel” movement in hotels. You know the one, that tiny card asking you to reuse bath towels in order to help save the planet. Westerveld noted that hotels seemed to be motivated by a concern to save costs rather than reducing impacts on the environment. And thus, greenwashing was born.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF GREENWASHING?
Sure are! Here are the 5 ways you might encounter greenwashing in your everyday life:
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT’S WHAT?
Here are some easy tips that will help you know what to look for:
Contacting a company directly is also an option when you’re seeking clarity on ethics and sustainability.
SOME GREAT RESOURCES:
Good On You
This app has standardized a rating system for the fashion industry. See how your favorite brands rank in terms of ethics, transparency and sustainability. It's also a great resource for informative articles on a variety of sustainable fashion topics and news.
Package Free Shop
This is a shop we personally love because they are truly passionate about sustainability. No greenwashing here folks! It's a great place to get inspired and start swapping traditional products for more sustainable versions.
This site is the largest global directory of ecolabels. Don't know what something means? Look it up! Knowledge is power.
PETA Cruelty-free Beauty Directory
This is a conveniently searchable database of companies that do and don't test on animals.
Tags: Greenwashing, fashion, shopping, ethical, eco-friendly, environment, slow fashion, climate change, sustainability, cruelty-free, millennial, Package Free Shop, PETA, Ecolabel, Good On You,