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What Is Greenwashing And How To Avoid It

One of the things that every new business owner has to keep in mind is that the best way to attract customers is through being truthful about the claims you make for your products.

There are many companies which promise a lot more than they can deliver and end up leaving their customers dissatisfied. When it comes to managing false claims, greenwashing is a term which can seriously harm your new business’s reputation. As more and more people become interested in helping our planet through increasing eco-awareness, claims of environmentally safe products go under scrutiny.

What exactly is greenwashing?

Greenwashing describes the practice of falsely labeling a certain product as environmentally friendly. Many companies choose to market their products, company policies or overall aims as environmentally friendly in order to attract a certain audience and usually, these claims are overrun by evidence showing otherwise.

On the other hand, certain companies can make small mistakes which can still affect the way their customers see their products, in regards to their ecological aspect. Avoiding greenwashing will help set your company apart from others who are simply trying to follow the growing demand for eco-friendly products by falsely advertising them. Here are some tips to help you achieve that.

Specifying the recyclable aspect of your products

A common greenwashing mistake that can be found on the packaging of products of many companies is related to the “recyclable” claims that have been made. The problem with this claim is that it is usually never specified whether the packaging material or the product itself is safe to be recycled. Some companies even go as far as making this claim for products which only contain a small number of recyclable materials. “No matter how few the recyclable components are, there is always space for greenwashing and manipulating consumers into thinking a product is much greener than it actually is”, notes Larry Smith, Social Media Expert at IsAccurate.

The fact that this claim gives customers the space to wonder about its specifications means that there is space for a greenwashing claim to be made. The best way for you to avoid this common mistake is by always taking the time to specify exactly what is recyclable when it comes to a product you are selling.

Whether it is the packaging or the product itself, or even some components of the product, you should always specify it so that you can make sure that no one misunderstands what you are advertising. Consumers usually tend to double-check claims so even a small mistake like this will not go unnoticed.

Supplying consumers with proof of your green practices

Another form of greenwashing can be seen by exaggerating the qualities of a certain product. This can be seen through various products that appear to be a lot “greener” than they actually are. Using the packaging design of a product as a way to make consumers believe that it is green is common practice between companies and the reality can be quite far from these claims.

“Companies use claims on their products in order to make them look more appealing and interesting to their consumers”, notes James Owen, Marketing Specialist for SupremeDissertations.

Most of the time, these claims have no evidence to back them up and can be easily debunked by a consumer that chooses to take a closer look. If you wish to make the claims you use legitimate and trustworthy, the best thing you can do is get the right proof to support them. Seals such as the USDA organic certification, the Non-GMO Project Verified, and the Green Seal can help consumers reach out for your products a lot easier since they will be certain that your product is exactly what you claim it to be.

These seals have been approved by reliable sources which follow certain regulations and strict criteria. They are the only reliable way for you to show your customers that your claims are more than just a well-designed slogan.

Being transparent

Last but not least, the best thing you can do in order to avoid greenwashing and the negative effects it can have on your company’s reputation is by being transparent about everything your business does. Showing that you have nothing to hide from your customers will increase their trust and support the fact that you have not inflated the claims you have made on the packaging of your products.

“You can promote transparency through your website and your social media pages. Answer questions honestly and link your customers to trustworthy and real sources which will back up your claims. By keeping your company transparent, you have nothing to fear”, advises Mary West, head of Content Marketing at BestEssayEducation.

Bringing yourself in the position of your customers, you would most likely feel unsure of a company that is not willing or able to provide you with data that supports their business activities and the claims they make on their products.

Therefore, before you make any eco-friendly claim on your products, you should make sure that you are able to provide your customers with proof that things are just how they seem. Transparency is a value that not many companies honor and you can make a difference in your field by choosing to be open about your claims and activities.

Creating products that live up to your customers’ expectations

Apart from helping you create products which will actually benefit the environment, avoiding greenwashing tactics will help you manufacture products which will perform better with your customer base. The more attention you put into getting the right certifications and shields for your products, the more customers will put their trust into what you have to offer.

Greenwashing can damage the reputation of your business and make you seem less trustworthy in the eyes of your customers. Making the choice to go green and always back up your eco-friendly claims on your products from the beginning of your journey will not only benefit your sales but also the environment in the long run.

What is your opinion on greenwashing? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Written by guest blogger: Melanie Sovann

Bio: Melanie Sovann is a graduated Editor and Senior Writer at Trust My Paper. Her career’s focus lies in professional blogging and editorials where she aims to broaden her writing and editing skills through informative content. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys to swim and walk with her pet dogs.

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