Trends are truly powerful. With social media, almost everyone has a platform and everyone is ready to promote a brand with a cute packaging. And what has been, among others, the big trend in the past year? Veganism. With people being more and more aware of their ecological footprint and being bombarded with information and sometimes graphic pictures of how their consumption has a direct effect on other peoples lives and on the entire planet’s well being, it becomes almost hypocritical to continue with our old somewhat careless consumption habits.
It becomes easier and easier to find eco-friendly brands today, so why not make the move and look for green labels? Well, before you do that, make sure you are not just falling in the trap of Greenwashing.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing finds its roots in a number of actions that have been taken by companies to better their brand image and gain more consumers. One of the first appearance of greenwashing was actually in hotels. Hoteliers started to leave a notice in guest’s room to ask them to reuse their towel, in order to save water. Under that statement, the truth was that hoteliers were much more interested into saving costs associated to washing towels than saving the environment. As a matter or fact, in all actuality, washing those hundreds of towels is not significantly any less ecological and this notice placed in every room, in itself, doesn’t make those hotels more eco-friendly. One isolated action does not define ecological progress. So, as you might have guessed now, the term "greenwashing" refers to efforts by companies to portray themselves as environmentally responsible in order to overstate environmental benefits or misrepresent, mislead, diminish, or divert attention from environmental wrongdoing .
You can easily spot greenwashing when a brand that never really promoted themselves on being eco-friendly or never showed the fruits of their efforts made toward a cleaner planet suddenly adds an ethical branch to their brand that is labeled as « green » or « ethical » and promotes it in a heavy way, much more than all of their other products which probably remained unethical and makes for a bigger part of the brand.
Why is Greenwashing So Dangerous?
The growing demand for green products naturally encourages brands to find more cost effective ways to improve their image and their ecological engagement. Some of those new creative ways can be really beneficial and truthfully good for the environment, but some of them can also be a lot of talking and very little taking actions. Some company will use the « just trust us » method which consists of labeling as « eco-friendly » without never really explaining what they are doing or providing any proofs of their efforts made towards installing better environmental work ethics.
As rules and laws are still vague on how precise you have to be when making product claims, we still can't fully trust the « 100% natural » claim if there are no further information. Natural does not mean green, ethical or good for you. Some natural substance can still be toxic to humans or be sourced in a ways that are harming our planet.
By making the consumer believe that he or she is making a greener choice, we are actively and completely erasing the true problem which is still gaining in expansion as people think that they are buying consciously when, in reality, they are just buying into « good » marketing. This makes greenwashing extremely dangerous as it diminishes the value of legitimate environmental successes.
The Presence of Greenwashing in Skincare and Cosmetics
It is obvious that, over the past couples of years, consumers have switched their focus and are a lot more interested in green labeled products, especially when reaching out for new skincare and cosmetics. Creams, scrubs, toner or makeup are all things that we directly put on all over our skin and it inevitably makes us want to reach out for clean products that our skin can truthfully benefit from, but it becomes confusing when half of the brands are only pretending to provide you with the best ingredients for your body. Skincare and cosmetic is a huge industry with a huge ecological footprint so when you do decide to create a skincare routine, try to buy consciously, If you have the opportunity to do so. Choose products that come in recyclable packaging or that are provided in bulks and try to find ingredients that will be soft on your skin and on the environment.
Don't Forget Marine Life
We don’t always think about his, but when we rinse soap or any other product into our sink, the ingredients are directly drained in our water sources and can truly affect marine life. When you think about your well being, you are also thinking about others’.
How To Spot Brands That Greenwash
A brand that is truly eco-friendly will have multiple commitment, will source their products from ethical sources and will probably be very transparent as to which ingredients they use.
You can also simply google the brand’s name and « greenwashing » or controversy and you will probably be surprised with the number of brands that are greenwashing and that are not truly eco-friendly
A Guide On How To Avoid Greenwashing As A Consumer
Step 1 Check Ingredients
- Get to know ingredients and where they come from
- Be aware of vague claims such as "100% natural"
- Preferably buy from brands that don’t have a huge list of ingredients and that provides an explanation from where they are sourced
Step 2 Labels
- Reach for brands that have clear claims such as "100% plant based "
- Beware of generic claims such as « Sulfate Free » and « Paraben Free » which doesn’t mean that the product is ethical or good for you.
Step 3 Trustworthy Brands
- Get to know a brand before you buy from them
- Try to buy from local brands with whom you can have direct contact with
- Stay away from brands that have a sudden change to their branding and are going « green »
Bkind: Our Engagement
At Bkind, our mission is and will always be to be kind to everything surrounding us. By taking upon this engagement, we are always working on new ways to stay eco-friendly and, as our company is growing, our planet’s well being stays at the heart of our concern.
Every skincare product is designed and made here in Quebec and are 100% plant based as well as being water-free. Water is often used as a filler in a lot of skincare product, lowering the efficiency of the product and making you pay for water instead of paying for active ingredients that will truly nourish your skin. We also invite you can to take a look at our ingredient list that you can find on our website as well as in the description of every product available in our online store.
When it comes to packaging, all of our plastic bottles are 100% recyclable and a lot of them are available in bulk so that you can come visit us at our boutique to refill your bottles, or with your own jars. We also offer biodegradable products, as well as a variety of eco-friendly bamboo accessories. Bamboo being a very sustainable ressource, we are always happy to use it in the making of our products and we encourage you to read more about it here.
We are committed to use a part of our profit and donating it to organizations who fight for animal welfare such as SAFA, Refuge-RR or the Montreal SPCA to help them and help our furry friends! This year, in 2021, we are giving a percentage of our income to Sos Miss Dolittle!
We encourage you to take some time aside to check in with your consumption habits and see if there are any changes that you can make to make our world a little bit more kind, to all kinds, everyday.
Author: Valérie Demers