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15 June, 2024
 
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Green marketing: The truth behind eco-friendly claims

From fake eco-friendly labels to confusing tactics, shedding light on corporate environmental practices

Andreas Karamitas

The deceptive practice of greenwashing, aimed at misleading consumers about the environmental qualities of products or services, is drawing increasing scrutiny. Greenwashing involves creating a false impression of sustainability to boost sales and enhance a company's reputation. It often entails using vague or exaggerated environmental claims, excessively promoting a product's green credentials while ignoring its overall environmental impact, and employing misleading imagery or symbols.

Accompanying the rise of greenwashing is the phenomenon of green labeling, now conspicuous in major supermarkets. To combat this misleading trend, consumers are urged to take personal responsibility. They should scrutinize environmental claims for independent certifications, seek comprehensive environmental information, compare alternative options, and evaluate overall environmental footprints. Choosing companies with transparent environmental policies and actions is paramount.

In addition to greenwashing, the Planet Tracker Think Tank identifies several related practices. Greenshifting involves shifting liability to consumers, making them partially responsible for environmental concerns. Greencrowding represents a more sophisticated form of greenwashing, hiding among a group and progressing at the pace of the slowest adopter of sustainable practices.

Greenlighting diverts attention from environmentally harmful corporate activities by highlighting ostensibly eco-friendly projects. This tactic, prevalent in industries like automotive and oil, allows companies to tout green initiatives while continuing to invest in polluting technologies. Finally, green rinsing, characterized by regularly changing environmental targets before they are achieved, perpetuates confusion and warrants close attention.

Source: Planet Tracker, Reuters, ot.gr

[This article was translated and edited from its Greek original]

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