Day 17 – Yesterday, Certified B-Corporations were covered. It was learned that these companies take the utmost effort in being the leaders of a global movement of using business as a force of good. Today, we’re going to take a look at the other side. We’ll examine how companies make false claims and mislead the public using greenwashing.
What is greenwashing?
“Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly.” – Investopedia
Greenwashing is not new. The term has been around since 1986 when it was coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld. And well before the term was created, companies were greenwashing their customers to give them a false sense of security and the belief that they were doing good in the world.
Just the other day, I experienced greenwashing. My husband and I had a gift card for Chipotle, so we purchased two burrito bowls for lunch. After I was finished, I went directly to my computer and searched up, “Are Chipotle bowls compostable?” I figured that a company that boasts being “one of the first national restaurant brands to commit to goals on local and organic produce and first national restaurant brand to commit to using only responsibly raised meat with some of the highest animal welfare standards”, would definitely have earth friendly bowls.
Article after article (dated 2019) popped up describing a bowl that was advertised as being compostable but was later tested and found to contain cancer causing, non-biodegradable chemicals. Chipotle promised to have safe and fully compostable bowl by the end of 2020. As of today, there is no mention of a compostable bowl on Chipotle’s website.
There is no doubt that I have been greenwashed countless times and there’s a chance it may happen again. However, just knowing it exists and realizing that a little research can uncover an avalanche of information, I’m hoping to be a wiser and more careful consumer. There are plenty of companies out there that want to take advantage of those trying to make environmentally friendly choices. Don’t be fooled. Do you’re homework and choose companies that are truly making a difference in the world.
Tomorrow, remembering a man that fought for equality for all and how that transcended to the environment.