Have you ever come across a product and feel like the whole packaging is so harmful for the environment? Well, that’s how you start by realizing how useless packages are and how it is affecting the environment. In today’s world, there are many consumers who are becoming green-conscious – from worrying about the depletion of natural resources, the overflowing of landfills, the airways and water source pollution, this green-consciousness is gaining grounds. So to make good use of this situation, more corporation are introducing green or eco-friendly products on the market. However, it is not always easy to tell which products are green and the level of green they might be or in what specific ways they are green. With the lack of less regulation, there are many fraudulent companies that claim to be green when it is totally the opposite. There are some products which are not exactly as green as the company declares it to be.
So how to tell if a product is green? Well, here are four ways to help you in discerning the real from the fake!
Disregard the “greenwashed” branding: There are plenty of companies that will trick you into believing that their products are environmentally friendly with green packaging or a label that will illustrate trees or something of that sort. Be sure not to be fooled by any of these businesses that pays attention to advertising only. These tactics are known as “greenwashing”, it is important not to overlook them especially when judging a product’s impact.
Focus on “said” claims: A good place to start looking are the claims made by the company to say whether they are really eco-friendly. Check on what is on their website, in their advertisements, or on the packaging itself. Do pay attention to detail and the specificity of how they are. It is easy to say that a product is green or all natural, but there should be proof and broad statements like that really mean nothing when you get the right one down.
Look for official certifications/labels: The most reliable ways to judge a company’s eco-friendliness is how they are judged by a third party organizations. Do check their website or the label of the product itself for green certifications, like the Energy Star (for energy efficient). USDA Organic Seal (for organic products), Forest Stewardship Council (for products made from trees in forests managed responsibly, and Green Seal (for general sustainability).
Check the company’s public relations
In general, what third parties say about the company is more reliable, but it is also worth looking at what the company says about itself. Check the company’s website, especially the « About Us » and « Newsroom » pages. CompanyFolders.com is a good example, with a special page dedicated to its green initiatives and printing practices.
You can also check to see if a company has won any awards or prizes for its sustainability efforts. There may also be corporate social responsibility reports or published sustainability reports; this is often the best way to find facts and statistics.
Researching the company externally
Invest some time in researching the company in question. Do a quick Google search and see what the media is saying about what the company is doing to help the environment. Make sure you’re looking for sources that have a long history of reliability, reputation and integrity. The ethical consumer, for example, profiles companies and rates them on their environmental friendliness. Try using the Aspiration application and look at the company’s Aspiration Impact Measure, a score based on items such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and other statistics.
Being socially responsible does not mean subjecting every decision you make to a « purity test ». No company is perfect, after all. But you can make reasonable choices every day. Try to hang out with sustainable companies that strive to keep their environmental impact low.