Faced with the ecological and climate urgency, consumers are increasingly keen to support businesses with a low environmental footprint. But how can you distinguish genuine sustainable businesses from those practicing greenwashing, i.e., those trying to project an eco-friendly image without their actual actions measuring up to their promises? To help you develop your own anti-greenwashing radar, here are some practical tips.


What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing (or eco-blanchiment in French) is a deceptive marketing practice in which a company presents itself as environmentally responsible when it is not. Through advertising, packaging, corporate communication, or even modifying certain aspects of production, businesses can give an impression of environmental respect that is not based on facts.

A green car with trees and plants growing on it

How to Identify Greenwashing?

Detecting greenwashing requires a certain vigilance. Here are some clues that should raise your suspicions:

  1. Vague or unverifiable claims: If a company makes general statements about its environmental commitment without providing tangible evidence, or if it uses vague terms such as "natural", "green", "eco-friendly" without clear explanations, it could be greenwashing.

  2. Absence of recognized certifications: Many labels and certifications attest to compliance with specific environmental standards. If a company claims to be environmentally responsible without possessing such certifications, it could be a sign of greenwashing.

  3. Lack of transparency: Truly sustainable businesses are usually transparent about their environmental practices. If a company does not disclose information about its environmental footprint or if it avoids answering your questions, this could be an indicator of greenwashing.

A green GPS over a pile of clothes

Developing Your Anti-Greenwashing Radar

To develop your anti-greenwashing radar, you can:

  1. Do your research: Visit the company's website and look for information on its environmental practices. Check the environmental certifications and labels it claims to have. Use online resources to verify the company's claims.

  2. Ask questions: Contact the company to ask questions about its environmental practices. A company genuinely committed to sustainability will generally be willing to share information about its environmental efforts.

  3. Learn about the industry: Some industries tend to be more involved in greenwashing than others. By informing yourself about the common practices in the industry and key environmental issues, you can better detect greenwashing.

Developing an anti-greenwashing radar takes time and effort, but it's an investment worth making. By supporting businesses that genuinely commit to sustainability, we can all contribute to a more environmentally respectful economy. So, don't hesitate to question, inform yourself, and keep a critical eye out for greenwashing!