Greenwashing - What is it?

Regenerative economics remains a rising topic as companies come under spotlight for their unsustainable practices. Environmental cost should be factored into overall profit. Businesses will be increasingly penalized as time goes on if practices remain environmentally unsound. These realizations lead to the topic of Greenwashing. describes this practice as merging the concepts of, “’green’ (environmentally sound), and ‘whitewashing’ (to gloss over wrongdoing) to describe the deceptive use of green marketing which promotes a misleading perception that a company’s policies, practices, products or services are environmentally friendly”. Who are the culprits? Coca-Cola was recently a sponsor of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. posted an article in 2013 detailing Coke’s updated sustainable practices including 52% beverage water replenishment and recyclable packing – but what kind of impact is this actually having? Coke also owns the water bottling company Dasani, and has been known to “borrow” water from very needy areas. Two years later, in 2015, the Desert Sun reported that, “Dasani and other bottled water companies like Crystal Geyser, Arrowhead, and Aquafina were tapping aquifers and bottling stream water in some of the most drought-ridden parts of the state (California). This took place during one of the worst dry spells in recent California history. Some companies were even taking the water from national forests”. PR stunts make it hard for the public to really know what these companies are up to. What can we do about it? The Huffington Post lists tips to beat Greenwashing: don’t succumb to pretty labels – read the ingredients, don’t buy something because a celebrity endorses it, and know who owns your favorite natural brands. As always, do your research! If you hear of a large corporation implementing newly sustainable practices, this can on the surface seem to be “earth friendly”, however until you closely examine their true consumption, this should be taken with a grain of salt. Ask for more information, and “follow the money”.