Greenwashing: What is it and why your small business shouldn’t fall into the trap

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

By Henry Brown

No matter your industry, one trend that has been noted in the business world in recent months is that consumers are looking to be as sustainable as possible. This means that more and more people are looking to buy from companies doing whatever they can to protect the planet we live on.

This means that, if your business can move to a more ethical and sustainable way of doing things, you could get ahead of the competition and encourage more customers to buy from you. However, this is unlikely to work if you fall into the phony greenwashing trap where you pay little more than lip service to the idea of green business.

What is greenwashing, and why is it something you need to avoid as a business?

What is greenwashing? 

In its most basic form, greenwashing is when a business presents itself as being environmentally friendly when it isn’t really the case.

Greenwashing doesn’t always happen because that company wants to lie about their own carbon footprint, although this does, of course, happen. More often than not, it is down to the fact that the company is increasingly keen to showcase just how green they are without researching what they need to do and their current impact on the environment.

This may not sound too bad if you know that greenwashing has happened for the “right reasons”, but greenwashing can sometimes distract from the real environmental issues that we currently face. Not just this, but if every company out there is “green”, then consumers can find it hard to tell the difference between those who are green and those who are guilty of greenwashing.

How can I avoid it? 

Greenwashing probably isn’t something that you are going to want to do if you are a business. Although, of course, it is excellent to want to shout out about what you do to ensure that the planet is appropriately looked after.

You should always be honest and try your best to research the best changes for you to make before you jump in and change them. This takes time and research, and you can always let your customers know the journey as you move through it. If you do this, you can be sure that they will appreciate the honesty, and it will help them see you positively for the work you are doing.

While greenwashing is something that you should avoid, it is a good idea to try and still be as sustainable as you can be as a business owner. This means that you need to consider which sustainable approaches will have a positive impact on the environment in the long term.

One great example of this is installing community solar for business; the idea of this approach is that your business will install solar panels within a community or be a part of this process. You then can use the solar energy that the panel creates. While the community also benefits from it. Another could be buying from only green suppliers or creating only eco-friendly products – you have lots of genuine options out there to choose from.

Not only change like this going to have a positive impact on the environment. But, they will also benefit your customers, your local community, and ultimately your business too. So what are you waiting for?

Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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