New analysis of nearly 500 websites that promote products and services across different industries, including clothes, cosmetics and food, has suggested that 40 per cent of these sites seem to be using greenwashing tactics, those that could be misleading and potentially in breach of consumer law.
Carried out by the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network, the investigation uncovered practices such as using vague claims and unclear language, including terms like eco or sustainable, or making references to natural products, without giving sufficient evidence or explanation of such claims.
Other tactics included making the pollution levels of certain products more eco-friendly by hiding or leaving out certain information, as well as using own-brand eco logos and labels that have no association with an accredited organisation.
Chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority Andrea Coscelli said: “People should be able to easily choose between those companies who are doing the right thing for the environment and those who are not.
“This is a global issue, so it’s only right that we look at it in a global context. Our joint work with other regulators will help us identify the big issues facing consumers and protect people from paying a premium for fake eco-friendly products.”
Recognising greenwashing is vital for consumers as the climate crisis deepens and brands realise they can cash in on the growing interest in eco-friendliness and sustainability.
When looking for brands to shop with, always check that they aren’t falsely promoting products or services as being environmentally friendly and always check that their business practices involve reducing their impact on the planet.
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