So there is this brand (which I won’t name), which stands for everything sustainability doesn’t. It is all about cheap, throwaway, one use, bad quality, a lot of things you wouldn’t think people would want but apparently they do…because it is really cheap. They have had countless labour issues and have no policies whatsoever on anything related from sustainability (be that social or environmental).
Today I saw several people with bags form this particular store. The store is now using paper bags that say in big letters “this is a green bag” and go on to explain how their bags are now made with left over paper from the boxes that bring their products into their stores.
Now I am all for companies that aren’t doing anything sustainable to start somewhere but this particular instance smells a LOT like greenwashing to me. I looked and there is nothing more than these bags, and even the bag story isn’t so convincing when you look into it.
I like to think sometimes that Greenwashing, in particular in areas such as the UK where sustainability is so active, is history, that it has gone extinct, that it has disappeared in its rawest form. I still see bits and pieces of greenwashing but it is more sophisticated often, more complex, or sometimes has good intentions behind it but has ad’s that are badly executed or products misunderstood. But this….. this shocked and surprised me because it just shouted greenwashing.
How is it that Greenwashing is still alive?Don’t companies know that we know better? Do we know better?
Taking the cynical view, green washing has become de rigour for a lot of firms and consumers are so confused by all of the advertising and lack of any standards that they stay with certain brands. Starbucks is a great example and so is Wal Mart- are these firms really green? Sometimes yes sometimes no- probably where a lot of companies are. Consumers are overwhelmed with information- similar to election advertising and in essence shut down and just go with what tastes good or feels good to them. An example of behavior change would be to see if buying habits have changed in NYC as a result if the disclosure of calories in restaurant foods.
On the positive side, I’d like to think that as a result of more information there are more and more of us making informed choices.