Written by Megan L
Greenwashing in the beauty industry: Too many people use sustainability as a marketing buzzword but don’t practice it.
When buying a product, what do you look for on the packaging?
Over the last few years there has been an ever-growing demand of consumers wanting: vegan, sustainable, organic and cruelty free products. Research shows ‘the global wellness market topping at a staggering £3.2 trillion last year ’, which inevitably leads most companies wanting to get on board. Many if not most, want to be a part of this to make sure they keep customers shopping with them and to stay relevant.
What is ‘Greenwashing’?
Greenwashing is a PR tool, which makes you think you are buying into an: ‘eco-friendly’, ‘sustainable’ company or product. Companies will spend a lot of money on advertising and marketing to convince you that they are ‘greener’ than they actually are. Greenwashing is, highly unethical and leads to distrust and confusion.
It is a clever marketing tactic to make you think your buying a natural, safe and organic product when you’re not.
Using common marketing buzzwords to engage with a wider consumer audience, Including:
The majority of consumers automatically trust the products without actually researching them or their ingredients. In addition to this, they use specific strategic colour’s and vague logos to denote themes of sustainability.
However, except their change of marketing and branding, most companies haven’t actually altered their process in any way. It doesn’t help that there aren’t many regulation rules and standards associated with this. Did you know? A product containing only 1% of natural ingredients could still be branded natural, even if the other 99% are harmful chemicals!
Greenwashing is also a much cheaper alternative than investing in more organic formulas and natural products. Companies realize that most consumers won’t know the difference unless the consumer researched or has extensive knowledge about particular ingredients. As long as the product looks natural and organic with the right buzzwords, they’ll buy into it.
What are the most used marketing buzzwords that can be misleading?
Dermatologist Approved: It doesn’t necessarily mean the product has been tested or evaluated for long-term health use.
Organic: There are no regulations with being branded organic; to be labeled organic only one or very small percentage of the products need to be organic. Be careful and pay attention to the other ingredients uses.
Natural: Legally the FDA doesn’t regulate this (as mentioned above). To see how credible this is, look for third party certifications.
Preservative- free: Beauty products need some form of preservative to prevent bacteria growth. Using preservative free doesn’t mean it’s safer for your health.
Remember, the words used are no guarantee for the safety of a particular product and don’t just trust and take what companies say for face value.
What can you do to avoid ‘Greenwashing’ tactics?
- Do your research investigate the ingredients! What are the active ingredients being used?
- The soil association (‘COSMOS’) logo – This logo guarantees you that this product contains organic ingredients, which have been sourced and manufactured, free of chemicals and haven’t been tested on animals.
- Search for certification for what the company is claiming.
- Buy from brands that make-whole claims (100% naturally sourced e.c.t), not vague claims.
- Look after your empties – Take the time to recycle your used products careful after all the research you did into buying them!
- Seek out companies who are open and transparent about their ingredients.
- Fight for stricter regulation rules and standards throughout the industry.
- Beware of buzzwords.
- Ask questions and read the fine print.
One of the most powerful tools you have is your voice. Speak up and let companies hear what you have to say.