Greenwashing is when a marketing effort tries to mislead customers into believing that a company or product is environmentally responsible, when in fact they are not.
One classic example is the packaging of a plastic water bottle showing an image of a waterfall, a green leaf or a tree. These images intend to influence the customer’s decision-making process by appealing to their good intention to be environmentally responsible. In reality, the pollution caused by the water bottles themselves is an immense contributor to plastic pollution, which ends up polluting the water.
Greenwashing does take advantage of people’s good will in order to be effective, but let’s not forget that it also relies on people’s lack of knowledge. If we know what is truly green and what is not, we can make the right purchase decisions, and drive demand for truly responsible products and companies.