"Greenwashing" - The shocking truth about your personal care products

Author: Ashley Scobie   Date Posted:25 April 2018 

Greenwashing – verb: When a company misleads its customers about the human health or environmental impacts of its products or practices.


What is 'greenwashing'?

Whether it’s solar powered cars, reusable shopping bags or natural/organic food, it’s an undeniable fact that ‘going green’ is one of the fasted growing trend’s today. Many of us are slowly starting to understand the benefits of purchasing green, natural or organic products and it’s beginning to change the way our ‘big brands’ market.

Greenwashing happens when companies add one or two natural ingredients to a cheap product (which is actually full of toxic and nasty chemicals) and claim it to be natural.

We’ve seen ‘no parabens’, ‘no sulphates’ and more popping up left right and centre, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t any nasty ingredients still lurking within. Brands are trying endlessly to keep up with the ‘green’ trend but this does not mean they are going about it the right way. Instead, many brands are investing in smarter marketing rather than improving the health benefits of their products.

What to look out for

This occurs with tens of thousands of brands on the market from their marketing campaigns to the labels on the products. It is used by businesses (big and small) to attract customers by claiming to be “natural’, ‘non-toxic,’ ‘eco-friendly,’ and ‘green’ on their labels. In fact, 95% of products reviewed are guilty of at least one of the “seven sins of greenwashing”.

01. Hidden trade off: Labelling a product eco-friendly based on small attributes (like recyclable content) but forgeting to mention their negative impacts like energy.

02. No proof: Making claims without any evidence (cruelty free but with no proof).

03. Vagueness: Using terms that are broad or not understood (‘all natural ingredients’ may actually only be a handful of ingredients).

04. Irrelevance: Stating something that is technically true but not a factor used in eco-friendly products

05. Lesser of two evils: Claiming to be ‘greener’ or more ‘natural’ than another product

06. Fibbing: Advertising about something that has little or no truth

07. Worshipping false labels: Implying that the company has certification labels but really does not.

In 2007, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing Inc. went into 6 major shopping centres and recorded each product that had an environmental claim. They recorded 1018 products that had over 1753 claims to do with being natural, eco-friendly, organic and toxic free. After thorough research this was the result:

Of the 1018 products that had made an environmental claim, all but one company had committed at least one of the seven sins.

Don' t get tricked, do this instead

Unfortunately for those in Australia, there is no process a brand has to go though to make any claims. We could literally be buying a bottle of water with a drop of essential oil in it with some fancy slogan that claims to remove fine lines and wrinkles. And this would be totally fine, and guys, it happens all the time.

- Do your own research

- Read your labels. If you’re not sure, google.

- Look out for any claims like:

- Dermatologically tested

- Look out for brand that make whole claims “100% natural”.

- Look for trusted certification

And most importantly, find a brand you know and trust.

Our promise

Here at Harvest Garden one of our promises to you is to be transparent and truthful in all that we do. We never claim to be something we are not.

Our ingredients are natural, pure and real and we invite you to please check for yourselves. We encourage you to ask us questions if you’re unsure of something as we are always happy to answer. 

Our products will always be:

01. Natural rather than synthetic

02. Our ingredients work and don’t counteract

03. Our products aren’t offensive in scent

04. We combine the right blend of botanicals, extracts and oils to help treat skin conditions such as dry or sensitive skin.

05. Our produces have been vigorously tested (on us!) to make sure you are getting the very best, because why settle for anything less?

06. There are no skin irritants

07. There is nothing toxic or chemical laden in anything that we create

Here at Harvest Garden we never make false claims or make promises that we can’t keep. We always disclose what goes into our products and make sure the ingredients list is easy for you to read.

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