Thursday, 09 December 2021
Greenwashing: What is it and how can you avoid it?
As climate change concerns rise, demand for sustainable and ethically sourced goods grows. With this in mind, many corporations, businesses and brands are ramping up their eco-friendly advertising schemes to align with a ‘greener’ image.
Campaigns emblazoned with environmentally conscious messages now reign strong across various industries, with businesses demonstrating their ethical and moral stance in the face of environmental and sustainability issues. While this is a positive step forward, branding products or businesses as environmentally friendly does not always guarantee that they are.
Greenwashing is a marketing ploy that misleads consumers to think that a brand or product is environmentally sustainable, when in fact, it is not. The term was coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986, to describe the outrageous environmental claims of some corporate companies. Since then, it has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon, making it increasingly difficult for eco-conscious consumers to pursue their genuine desire to support environmentally friendly companies.
To help combat greenwashing and make more eco-conscious purchasing decisions, look out for the FSC label when purchasing forest products. The FSC label signifies that the forest-based materials in the product have met the rigorous and globally consistent FSC standards for environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable forest management. It can be found on all kinds of everyday products including toilet paper, books, car tyres, food and product packaging and much more. When you purchase a product that bears the FSC label, you’re supporting a system that addresses important environmental issues, including the maintenance of forest biodiversity, the protection of water catchments and habitat preservation for native wildlife. In Australia, this includes the protection of rare and threatened species like the wedge-tailed eagle and their habitats as well as rare, threatened, or endangered ecosystems like old-growth forests. By purchasing FSC certified products, you’re supporting a market for sustainable forest products and therefor helping to combat illegal logging and deforestation.
If you’re an eco-conscious shopper looking to steer clear of greenwashing, you can support FSC’s partnering retailers that help to protect the world's forests and those that depend upon them. Find the list of retailers that range FSC certified products in Australia and New Zealand below!
To check a product’s FSC claim, use our Public Search.