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Green-washing – A Marketing Trend to be Alert of

With people becoming more environmentally conscious day by day and more than that, eager to make a green statement, they are looking for eco-friendly or environment-friendly products. The businesses, who are alert and have an eye on what the demand is at all times, have not taken long to sense this. They too are now banking on “green element” and promoting there products on the basis of their being conducive to the environment.

However, while some manufactures have taken serious steps to make their products “green”, there are many others who have used the term “green” and “eco-friendly” just as a marketing gimmick to boost their sale and earn more profits. This process is called Green-washing. This term was coined by environmentalists. It refers to the efforts of corporate to portray themselves as environmentally responsible so as to cover up there environmental misdeeds and to bank on the demand of green products. The concept also includes their attempts to market themselves as companies trying to reduce their carbon footprints.

The promotion of bamboo products as green can be cited as an example of green-washing. While bamboo, being a grass, grows up fast, among other environmental concerns associated with it is the concern is its shipping cost and the carbon footprints thus released. This goes against the very concept of ‘environment-friendly’ production.

What are the problems with green washing?

Green washing, as per some experts, has been considered as a sin in business. Here are few reasons for the same.

  1. The concept of green-washing in itself is misleading and against the ethics of business. It makes us think that by buying a particular product that has been promoted as environment friendly by its company we are helping promote the green cause and maintain a healthy environment. In reality, we are actually doing just the opposite. Not every company is a liar when it talks of its environmental concerns, but to choose which is true and which is false is difficult for consumers as they depend largely on salesman from companies to get the knowledge of the product.
  2. If consumers do not research well before buying a supposedly green product and give in to green washing, it will only encourage other companies to go for this trend than actually be serious about taking environment friendly steps. At the end of the day, no company would want to loose out on profits. However, this will develop complacency among companies who wish to go on producing trash and in consumers who base all their decisions on advertisements. This has dire consequences on the environment.
  3. If consumers see that, say for an example, 6 out of 10 companies claiming to be green and eco-friendly are actually lying about the same, they will not rely on the other companies genuinely concerned about the environment we live in. They will be cynical about the genuine steps too and a product being eco-friendly or not will not make a difference on their choice of product. This way, the efforts of genuine companies will get wasted too. Hence, companies who are serious about environmental concerns should be critical of green washing companies and the reality to public notice.

To check green washing, check for authorized eco-labels and see if data about the contents or materials used are clearly mentioned. Don’t give in to what the ads or the sales men say, Research your product well and know all you need to know about the manufacturing processes as well. Decide for your self if the company has genuine concerns for the environment or not. You do not have to check much to know how genuine they are. See the amount of packaging they use and check the contents to know if they use recycled materials. Also check if they take back products to recycle them. Being green is not just a fashion statement, it is vital for a sustainable environment today.

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