So, you’ve decided to reduce your environmental footprint. You’ve reduced your waste, you recycle, you make local and responsible purchases… But are you sure? How can you know that you’re not part of the vicious cycle of greenwashing?
Greenwashing, A Trend That Must Be Reversed
Greenwashing isn’t new. Faced with increased consumer awareness about eco-responsible initiatives, many companies are going green. However, some are only posing as eco-responsible in the hopes of increasing their sales.
Greenwashing is actually a deceptive marketing strategy that presents a false image of eco-responsibility. There are various approaches that can contribute to misleading consumers. The following elements are often found on products and can be linked to greenwashing:
- The use of blue and green on packaging and labelling;
- Illustrations of landscape or natural elements like leaves, trees, animals or a blue sky;
- The claim that an item is made from recycled materials without specifying the proportions;
- The use of the words “natural,” “eco-friendly” or “green.”
The use of these ploys can confuse consumers and lead them to believe that they’re making eco-responsible purchases when they’re not. In addition, the lack of regulations in this regard is a major obstacle when it comes to disentangling claims that are true from those that aren’t.
This tendency can cause cynicism and loss of confidence. In fact, 83% of consumers claim to have already felt deceived by the buzzwords associated with different products.
A study by Forrester shows that 61% of shoppers are looking for energy-efficient goods and the demand for eco-responsible items is steadily growing. It is therefore important to be cautious in order to avoid being fooled.
How can you avoid falling into the greenwashing trap?
Fortunately, these deceptive strategies are proving to be increasingly risky. People are more informed about the deceptions linked to greenwashing. Companies found guilty of employing such dishonest practices are doomed to having their brand image tarnished and can even be the subject of boycotts.
By providing accurate and verifiable data, companies that are truly eco-responsible are trying to correct the situation and establish trust with consumers.
To ensure the legitimacy of claims related to different products, it’s important to know how to read labels and recognize valid certifications. It’s all a matter of being informed, and 76% of people say they want to learn more about what is truly eco-responsible and what is not.
As such, before buying a product, it’s essential to:
- Be wary of first impressions;
- Verify that claims regarding eco-responsibility are credible, precise and relevant;
- Be on the lookout for exaggeration, deception and lack of verifiable information;
- Rely on recognized certifications, such as the B-Corp certification, which ensures that companies are regularly audited.
In addition, consumers, retailers and eco-responsible companies have the power to pressure authorities so that green claims can be standardized and legislated in the same way as organically certified products.
What about in pharmacies?
In pharmacies, it’s definitely possible to limit the risks of greenwashing. Various strategies can be employed. And if a boycott is not always possible, other solutions can be adopted.
Why not clearly identify certain products with logos or labels? Another idea is to create sections in your pharmacy that are reserved for items that are truly eco-responsible. A poster with explanations could justify your choices and serve to educate your customers. This would also be an opportunity to attract and reassure informed consumers. More than 90% of customers believe that retailers should be more transparent about the degree of eco-responsibility of their merchandise.
Finally, you could set an example by promoting the purchase and use of eco-responsible products. In your prescription products, you could use EcoloPharm’s Ecolo-Vials and Eco-Pill compliance packaging. This would send a positive message to your customers and helps reduce your ecological footprint.