Avoid greenwashing: transparency is the key

To meet the needs of consumers, organizations realize that offering a green product or service is necessary. Many organizations advertise their new eco-friendly consumer goods as such. But how many are actually committing the "sins of greenwashing"?

Research by TerraChoice shows that more than 95% of consumer goods, claiming to be green, commit at least one sin according to the “Sins of greenwashing”. Only 4.5% were found to be sin-free.

Greenwashing is the term used to describe organizations misleading consumers with eco-friendly products or “green-marketing”. Marketers must be careful when making environmental claims. You cannot just put a green label on the package. Sustainability should be about transparency.

Full product transparency

PRé enables organizations to achieve full product transparency and avoid greenwashing. With life cycle assessments (LCA), PRé analyzes the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle, from raw materials to disposal. LCA leads to product transparency and enables organizations to identify product improvement opportunities, engage with its value chain and support marketing and communication efforts.

Visibility into all environmental impacts

LCA allows you to gain insight into all the environmental impacts of a product’s value chain. This information can be used to compare similar products. PRé conducted a life cycle assessment of two metal rings for a jewelry manufacturer and established a baseline for comparison. With the results of the life cycle assessment, the client was able to understand the relative impacts of metal sourced from different global regions and discovered the importance of the retail stage of its product’s life cycle impacts.

Both organizations and customers benefit when a product’s “green claim” can be easily validated against objective and transparent criteria.

The International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E), has developed and implemented a Charter for Sustainable Cleaning, enabling manufacturers to compare their relative strengths and weaknesses to an industry average. This benchmark provides transparency for an industry as a whole, in which all companies can benefit from becoming more environmentally conscious. 

Lucite International, one of the world’s largest suppliers of methylmethacrylate (MMA) and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), asked PRé to develop environmental profiles for MMA and PMMA. Through this project, Lucite gained in-depth insight into all the environmental impacts and was able to create a benchmark for external product comparison.

Transparency is the key to an eco-friendly product

Greenwashing will not last. Without transparency, results don’t mean much. Before claiming to be environmentally responsible, let an external third party verify and validate your results based on well-defined standards. In the meantime, let the product’s benefits speak for themself, build a solid sustainable business and reach out to the customers with honest communication.

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