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Sustainability is becoming an expectation of brands, so it is no surprise that retailers around the world are trying to use the appeal of natural, eco-friendly products to entice consumers. It is a great thing that many companies are striving for a green future, and they should brag about the ways they protect the environment and their consumers in their marketing efforts.
Unfortunately, however, some companies use a practice called “greenwashing” to capitalize on this increasing demand and encourage consumers to buy from them. Discover what greenwashing is, why you should avoid it, and how your retail packaging comes into play.
Greenwashing is a type of marketing tactic that deceives consumers into believing a company’s practices or products are environmentally friendly or more environmentally beneficial than they actually are. This is done by creating a false impression, providing misleading information, making unsubstantiated claims, or over-emphasizing sustainable aspects of a company to conceal the negative impacts the company may have.
Here are some examples of greenwashing that you may come across in daily life:
Greenwashing is problematic for a few reasons. It misleads consumers and investors who are actively looking to spend with companies that align with their value of protecting the environment. In addition, many people would actually pay more for sustainable products – and companies can rightfully charge consumers a premium for going that extra mile. But if these claims are false, companies are unethically overcharging buyers.
More and more businesses are getting investigated for greenwashing while consumers are getting more educated on sustainability, prompting them to read the labels and look into the facts behind a brand’s claims. If customers find out they have been misled or lied to, this can harm your reputation and cost you a lot of business.
The best way to avoid accidental greenwashing is to practice what you preach. You should be transparent and detailed about what you do to benefit your consumers and the environment. With any claims you make, ensure they are easy to understand, uncomplicated, and can be backed up with data and facts.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has designed laws to protect consumers and ensure a fair marketplace for retailers, so following their guidelines – and partnering with vendors that do – is a good rule of thumb.
If you set out to achieve certain sustainability-focused goals, make sure the vendors you work with are able to truly help you achieve them. The vendors you choose should be transparent about their approach to sustainability – if they seem evasive or deceptive, this may be a sign it is time to find another resource.
A great place to start with your sustainability efforts – and a place that many retailers are starting – is with retail packaging. There are a few ways you can achieve sustainable retail packaging:
Partnering with a packaging service provider that has sustainability-focused capabilities and innovations can make it much easier to create eco-friendly components. At Edge2Edge, sustainability is one of our most important initiatives. From being members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to collaborating with environmental experts to manufacturing custom retail packaging that is ethically- and sustainably-produced and certified, and beyond, we are proud to help clients who prioritize the environment.
Have more questions or want to get started with your green retail packaging designs? Contact us today!