Do we really know the statistics on how many companies are green-washing us?

Do we really know the statistics on how many companies are green-washing us?

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a term used to describe a company that advertises to be environmentally sustainable. It's a technique used by many companies to cover up the fact that they are doing more harm and damage. Big, well known companies usually tell small lies to make them look better on the outside to customers but within the company, directors, executives and CEO's know this is completely not true.


The statistics

According to a new 'Fast company' report on the 13th April 2022; out of a survey of 1491 executives worldwide and across different industries, 58% admitted that their companies greenwash their customers to make themselves look better.

This is a staggering number of companies that admit to greenwashing and that is just from 1491 executives! 

According to google, there are 213 million companies worldwide give or take. Obviously some of the CEO's that own these companies may own more than one company. If we were to ask all of the executives in these companies if they greenwash or not, how many more will come forward and admit they aren't being honest. The point I am trying to make is that there are these many companies worldwide. More than 50 million may claim to be a sustainable company but how much of this information is true? And will we ever find out?

source found at: Fast company report


Why do we still buy from brands that we know greenwash/lie to loyal customers?

Is it because we don't care about our environment? Is it because we cant physically see the damage these companies are doing to the environment? Is it because these companies products are too nice and we don't want to bother looking for alternatives? Is it because the company are well established and because other people buy their products? Is it because it's cheap? 

There are so many reasons why people are still buying from other brands who may be be lying to us and I believe some of the questions listed above are just a few reasons why people still buy from these companies. 

I also believe that we are just getting started in our understanding on how much these companies are doing more damage than good to our environment and I think we are only just starting to understand how we can change how we shop to help our environment through education. 

Through educating myself by reading books, exploring the internet, interacting with people face to face or listening to podcasts, I have found ways to make small changes to my life with overall make a difference to helping the environment. Some of these changes include drinking from a stainless steal bottle instead of a plastic bottle, using Tupperware boxes for my lunches at work instead of using cling-film or throw-away packaging or pots. I also cook my food for work to last me three days instead of cooking every evening which not only saves me time, but it also saves on gas and electricity.

In more recent years since news reports on environmental campaigns and people actually speaking out at events such as Greta Thunberg, some companies have actually taken action in trying to help the climate crisis. Amazon courier service is a clear indication of this. If you order more than one product off the Amazon website, not only can you opt to have your products on the same days instead of coming on two separate occasions, Amazon also use smaller size boxes to save wastage of cardboard, but the majority of Amazon vehicles you see in the road are all electric. I think Amazon is a great leading business to physically prove to other companies that action needs to be taken and changes can be made no matter how big or small the company is and I'm sure as time goes on, Amazon will find new creative ways in creating a positive change. 


How can we stop companies greenwashing?

With social media these days and with people finding their voice and doing the research it is a lot easier to find out what companies are actually ethical and who are greenwashing the system. 

Annoyingly, there are no current strict laws that force companies to change or make changes to start making a positive difference instead of adding to the problem. There is also no strict laws or punishments for companies that do lie about their sustainability values and efforts. If there was however laws on greenwashing, I believe there would be a lot less companies lying to the government and members of the public.

Other alternatives are to shop elsewhere. There are so many ethical companies out there these days, we are spoilt for choice! Obviously this does involve doing a bit of searching and a little bit of homework. I have also found in the past that you can find some good things in local zero waste shops which can be a safer option rather than buying over the internet with companies you don't know much about.


How can I be more sustainable?

The best place to start learning on how to be more sustainable could be from:

  • Buying books - I recently brought a new book called '101 ways to help the planet', which; as it explains in the name; gives you 101 different ways you can adjust your lifestyle to make a small difference whether that's daily, weekly or monthly -thats up to you.   
  • Join environmental social media groups/pages - When starting up Henius, I learnt so much from talking to friendly and supportive people on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn who were all willing to help me learn.
  • Researching on the internet - There is so much information on the internet these days. Google will have all the information you need.
  • Podcasts - There are also many podcasts out there that base their topics on the environment and sustainability. If you are on the move all the time or bored in the car, then maybe this is the option for you.  
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