How They Get You with Greenwashing

April 26, 2021

I was shocked by this dishonest practice I came across while meeting with potential manufacturers.

Before I started The Dream Career Project I was pursuing starting my own clothing line. So I would meet with potential manufacturers and one of the things I asked them about was the source of their materials.

One of theses meetings left me completely flabbergasted. When I asked if their cotton was organic he replied, “It can be if you want it to be. We can put it on the label.”

I was semi-shocked by the dishonest practice but I think I was more shocked that he was so bold about this (most likely) illegal matter. He didn’t even care to be subtle and hint at it.

This goes to show you how easy it is to greenwash.

Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound.”

And sadly, it’s all over the place.

Another place I frequently come across greenwashing is simply in the wording and appearance of things.

Let’s face it. “Sustainable” has a look associated with it that’s already been ingrained in many of us.

When you come across something in natural-looking packaging, in natural-looking colors combined with a name or description that has “earth-friendly,” “eco-” or “green,” in it, you are probably automatically inclined to think that it’s sustainable, right?

And that’s where they get us.

That’s where they got me.

While shopping for more eco-friendly poop bags I ended up buying a brand of one of that fit the look (and name!).

But after receiving the bags, It was clear they were no different from the plastic bags I’ve been using for years. Sure enough, upon further inspection in the paragraphs of description it says:

“EARTH FIRST, PROFIT SECOND: 270 premium pet poo bags are included in each order. A total of 8 rolls that each include 15 dog bags and a 100% leak-proof guarantee. We use recycled materials in our packaging and roll cores because details matter.”

It’s their packaging that makes them “earth-friendly.”

While I do appreciate that they’re paying attention to details, I can’t deny that they’re misleading their customers in the product’s name, description, and appearance. Because most consumers searching for environmentally-friendly poop bags are looking for the actual bags themselves to be sustainable.

I hope in sharing these stories it helps you as a buyer, to be more aware of the way greenwashing sneaks into things.

Taking a few extra seconds to look on the package and see what makes it “green” would save your hard-earned dollars and effort that you are trying to put towards making a difference in this planet.

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I'm Grace Kim,

a fashion designer-turned-career strategist, [mis]adventurer and your biggest believer.

I'm a girl who dropped out of college, was told I would fail in fashion, then went on to create my 6-figure design career before the age of 30.

Now, with my 11+ years of experience in the corporate world, I'm here to guide, support, and connect other designers so they can build a flourishing career despite all odds set against their success, and experience more freedom in & outside of work while getting paid what they deserve.

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