Greenwashing 101: How To Spot it When Purchasing Sustainable Brands

‘Greenwashing’ is a phrase that is getting more and more attention nowadays and with so many brands choosing to go more ‘sustainability focused’ with their products, packaging, and shipping methods, it is vital that we learn about all there is to know about what this new term means. In this article, we will be explaining exactly what ‘greenwashing’ is, why it could be a problem, and how to spot a sustainable brand when you are shopping around. 

What is ‘Greenwashing’?

When it comes to purchasing goods, we are always voting with our money. We want to shop with sustainable brands that have mother earth at the heart of their products, taking into account which ingredients they use, and where everything, right down to their packaging, is sourced from. Many markets are saturated, and in a way to set themselves apart, some companies purport that they are environmentally conscious, when not making any notable sustainability efforts – this is called ‘greenwashing’. Whilst at one end of the spectrum companies can have the truest intentions with their products, some at the other end of the eco-brand spectrum are claiming to be helping the planet without any real substance or genuine responsibility behind their claims. 

Why is ‘Greenwashing’ a Problem?

As consumers we have a right to be given correct information from brands to allow us to make our own choices and informed decisions.  ‘Greenwashing’ leads customers to believe something which isn’t true.  This prevents consumers from making their own choice as the brand has taken that right away.  And where these brands are found to be less than satisfactory or genuine in their claims, consumers then lose their trust in the wider eco-brands available to them.  This makes it harder to choose sustainability-sourced products than it really should. Nowadays, people put a lot of thought into how their purchases may affect the planet in the long run, and by buying sustainable goods they can reduce their own carbon footprint. Ultimately greenwashing muddies the water from those brands that are genuinely working hard to support more significant environmental issues. 

How To Spot Authentic Sustainable Brands

With so many exciting brands on the market, it can be difficult to tell which ones are better in the sustainability stakes. Well, we are here to help! Here are our top ways to spot an eco-friendly brand from a mile off. 

  • Check Those Ingredients 

Shopping sustainably becomes all the simpler when you begin looking at the transparency of the ingredients. Here at Tea & Tonic, we know everything that goes into our products including where, how and who has sourced it, we can only do this by working closely with our growers or suppliers to ensure this level of traceability is possible. For example, our High Spirits Body Oil is made with sustainability in mind – especially when it comes down to the blend of ingredients. This natural skin care product contains over 80% of ingredients that have been grown on UK farms, as well as including Crambe Abyssinian and cold-pressed Camelina Oil which are all grown as part of the Bee Friendly project / RHS Plants for Pollinators which help local ecosystems by supporting a healthy Bee population.

  • Craftsmanship is Key

Many businesses nowadays are made by the means of mass production, which can be damaging to the environment and increase our carbon emissions.  When creating our range, we focus on the craftsmanship behind our products. Meticulously, by hand, we use traditional methods, which whilst they may take longer, yield excellent results. For example, we infuse all our herb oils in small batches for freshness, which also creates unique formulas as well as being kind to the planet.

  • Look Out For How They Package and Ship!

Another thing to check out is how the company packs and ships its products to you. We may think of the immediate packaging of the product and whether it’s sustainably created and recyclable/compostable / reusable or biodegradable perhaps.  However we don’t typically think about how a product ends up at our door – but we should! Sometimes, the things we order can travel a long distance to get to us, again adding to our carbon footprint. And it may be packaged with protection that is plastic.  The less sustainable packaging options are often cheaper so companies often skimp when they think it’s going unnoticed by the consumer.   Therefore a good way to spot a genuinely sustainable brand is by looking at how much thought they have put into their end packaging and shipping process. Tea & Tonic uses 100% high-quality recycled, recyclable, or compostable packaging within the shipping pack.  The inner packaging also offers 100% recyclable options – where they encourage to reuse, refill, and recycle at every turn, whilst still looking every bit beautiful.  Products are then shipped via a carbon neutral courier. 

The best way to stand up to those brands that are greenwashing is to stop buying – spending our money where our values count and together we can make our voices heard.  So come on, if you’ve not already, let’s wise up and clean up the greenwash!

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