Here’s how you can spot greenwashing!

Now that more and more consumers are making proactive attempts to promote sustainable development through their buying choices, it has opened a whole new sector for companies to make a profit while making efforts to conserve the planet. But this has also prompted several unscrupulous businesses to make false representations to capture the market share for conscious consumers without making any efforts to conserve the environment.

This practice of deceitful advertising is known as greenwashing and since it is not a well-known term consumers place their trust in corporations to honour their environment-friendly advertising and representations inadvertently supporting the practice. But once one understands the concept it is relatively easy to spot this unethical practice and make responsible consumer choices to support eco-friendly businesses and sustainable development.

  • The easiest method would be to spot vague taglines and buzzwords like “eco-friendly” or “natural”, this is quite a popular way of greenwashing, from processed food to chemical cleans will all boast such descriptions without actually being “natural” or “eco-friendly”. Look beyond these vague words and find out the reality. 
  • Another way to spot greenwashing is the visual equivalent of vague buzzwords. Consumers should not equate sustainability of a product with the advertised imagery as it often portrays idyllic imagery to appeal to a particular aesthetic without having any substance to it. It is always important for a consumer to do their research before taking these advertisements for their face value.
  • Another way to identify greenwashing is to always look into the background of the producer since many companies try to get rid of their pollution and other objectionable characteristics by partnering up with a green-non profit or through a new subsidiary promising green products.


While it might not always be easy to eliminate or identify greenwashing, consumers can do so by being more educated about the options in the market and asking questions. In this day and age of connectivity, it is not hard to gather information and a little effort can make all the difference for the planet and eliminate greenwashing practices. There are many ways to spot greenwashing and to avoid such products but the onus to make a change ultimately falls on the consumer and it is our duty towards our society and our planet to make that effort.

Source and References:

  1. The Zero-waste Chef, 7 ways to Spot Greenwashing and How to Avoid It?, Zero-Waste Chef (Jan 30, 2020)
  2. Leyla Acaroglu, What is Greenwashing? How to Spot it and Stop it?, Medium ( Jul 8, 2019)
  3. Nadia Schwingle, 5 Ways to Spot Greenwashing, One Green Planet ( Oct 7, 2020)
  4. How to Spot Greenwashing, Plan A Academy ( Sept 2, 2020)

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