What is Greenwashing?
In this modern age the consumer is expecting more and more from the companies that they buy from. They understand that the money they spend has power and will pay more for ethical products. There are plenty of companies out there that are rightly proud of their own green and ethical status, but is everything as it seems? Greenwashing is something that exists within the commercial world but what is it and what does it mean?
There is a rather worrying trend when it comes to big name corporate companies claiming that they are taking an ethical and green approach, only for it to transpire that they are not quite as squeaky clean as they may claim. This activity has become known as ‘greenwashing’.
L’oreal recently angered many after labelling some of their products as vegan while still carrying out animal testing.
Statement on L’Oreal’s vegan labelling from PETA’s Director Elisa Allen:
Switching to a vegan diet, wardrobe, and beauty regime helps people feel as great as they look. As the number of vegans skyrockets, savvy brands are catching on and ditching animal-derived ingredients in favour of superior and humane vegan ones. PETA recognises that L’Oréal is taking steps to make kinder products, and we eagerly anticipate a day when the company ends all testing on animals – which it currently conducts in order to sell its products in China. But we urge consumers to choose from the many compassionate brands that use only vegan ingredients and refuse to test on animals anywhere in the world. These cruelty-free companies can easily be found by searching PETA US’ Beauty Without Bunnies database online.
Ethical Consumer Magazine research reveals that the UK’s vegans are unwittingly supporting companies that are deeply involved in the meat and dairy industries.
Here is their list of vegan brands owned by non-vegan companies:
Would this put you off buying vegan products from these companies? Let us know in the comments below.
You will be glad to hear that this is not the case for all vegan products. There are many listed in their plant milk and meat-free burgers and sausages guides that have no links to the dairy or meat industries.
Why do they do this?
Companies want to make out that they are more ethical then they actually are because they know that being a green company is a great way to market themselves. Consumers are becoming more savvy about the ethics behind the products they buy and are willing to spend their money on products they believe to be ‘ethical’.
What is being done to stop greenwashing?
There are a number of groups who are looking at the best ways to stamp greenwashing out. One of the leaders in this is Greenpeace. They know that whilst more and more companies are trying to show that they are green and ethical, not all of these are genuine.
Back in 2009, they set up the Stop Greenwash campaign which was designed to allow for consumers to make better choices, but revealing who out there isn’t quite as honest as they seem. They have managed to reveal those companies who are claiming that they are environmentally friendly, but that their very core is actually polluting or using unethical practices.
So don’t be too disheartened. Although some companies may market themselves as greener then they actually are, there are tools available to help you combat greenwashing. Elisa Allen, PETA Director gives some tips below:
How would you define “vegan beauty”?
Cruelty-free beauty products aren’t tested on animals. Vegan products should be cruelty-free and don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients.
What are the main benefits?
Switching to a vegan beauty regime means people can feel as great as they look. By choosing vegan when we eat, buy clothes, wash our hair, or apply make-up, we know we’re making a kinder choice for animals and the environment.
How can you tell if a product is vegan or not?
We urge consumers to choose from the many compassionate brands that use only vegan ingredients and refuse to test on animals anywhere in the world. Cruelty-free companies can easily be found by searching PETA US’ Beauty Without Bunnies database online.
What is the reason behind the growing demand for vegan beauty products?
As the number of vegans skyrockets, savvy brands are catching on and ditching animal-derived ingredients in favour of superior and humane vegan ones.
Request a free copy of PETA’s colourful vegan starter kit, which is packed full of recipes, tips on making the switch and much more!