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The Grey Area Of Greenwashing - A look at the truth behind some of the rumours

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

As governments around the world work toward the 2030 Sustainable Development goals, businesses across the globe have been forced to review and amend some of their practices. While many companies are taking this extremely seriously, others are using the art of greenwashing instead and, in this article, we’ll take a look at some of the rumours and the truth behind them.




What is greenwashing?


These days, there are some great options available for buying sustainable furniture and other items, including stunning items by Sustainable & Salvaged, but not all companies are exactly what they seem.


Also known as ‘green sheen’, greenwashing is a deceptive practice which companies use to convince the public that they are operating in an environmentally sound way. In many cases, a quick peek below the surface is enough to reveal the real story and, in this article, we’ll take a look at a couple of recent examples.


Pretty LIttle Thing


Fast fashion brand, Pretty Little Thing, announced a new app which will allow members of the public to sell their old clothes. It’s thought that the app has been developed as a way for the brand to move away from the ‘fast fashion’ label and become more sustainable, however, many have labelled this simple greenwashing. While there may be a self-serving aspect to Pretty Little Thing’s new venture will almost certainly provide value to customers, both in financial savings and in helping to protect our planet’s resources.

McDonalds


The fast food chain is rarely out of the headlines and, in December 2021, it went from the frying pan into the fire amid claims of greenwashing. The claims came after the chain announced its first ever net zero restaurant in Market Drayton. While McDonalds congratulated itself on this step forward, environmentalists say that, in the meantime, climate-critical forests in South America are rapidly being decimated by production practices linked to meat and dairy products by the popular burger restaurants. Although there may be truth to this claim, burgers - and particularly quarter pounder burgers - are the brand’s core business and failing to meet customer demand would be devastating for the company.


Mercedes Benz


Stuttgart based motor vehicle company, Mercedes Benz, recently began an advertising campaign which shows the brand’s logo in pictures of nature; including the veins on a leaf and bees buzzing around a honeycomb. The company has been branded dishonest for its greenwashing, with critics of the company pointing out that Mercedes Benz is a massive contributor to climate change. Although the brand has now slightly changed their campaigning, there’s little doubt that a vehicle manufacturer claiming to be environmentally friendly is a form of greenwashing.


Conclusion


In 2022, people are more aware than ever before of the need to protect our planet and many consumers actively seek out brands which contribute to change. Because of this, greenwashing attempts will, in most cases, be counterproductive in the long run as consumers become more savvy at finding the truth about their favorite brands.


Sustainable & Salvaged specialises in bringing new life to old products through a process that is sustainable, recyclable, and environmentally friendly.

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