The last straw? If you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say it at all, right? Not this time. Ecolabel confusion has been a huge problem for many years now. We continue to see companies plastering their eco-claims everywhere, diluting consumer trust and poisoning the well for everyone. It’s time to pay attention and reclaim sustainability. Here are some major slip-ups from unsustainable companies.
1. You focus your efforts on attention-grabbing issues
We’ve all heard about banning plastic straws. As well as planting trees, volunteering your employees for a beach clean-up, and switching to recycled paper for your printers.
Unpopular opinion: jumping to whatever trendy sustainable alternative is out there and doing nothing else, doesn’t make you eco-friendly. It’s more a sign of greenwashing.
If your sustainability practices ONLY include these efforts, then allow us to be a bit judgmental. These efforts bring awareness to the larger issues, but truly green companies should be focusing on aspects of their business which are their leading causes of environmental impacts. If Starbucks switches to plastic straws and doesn’t do anything about the huge impact of disposable cups, then it’s time to rethink the sincerity of their efforts.
2. Your sustainability department is only a part of your marketing team
Firstly, ouch. Sustainability can’t exist in a vacuum. Having a sustainability team does not always equal being sustainable. All this will do is add some green colour to your ad campaigns.
And how will you know your company’s impacts and ways to reduce them if this team doesn’t have any say on your core business operations?
3. Thinking you’re burden-free because your products are recyclable
Recycling is great! But not if it is your scapegoat to produce in the least environmentally conscious manner. Are your products made of recycled goods and not just recyclable? Now that’s a step.
The opposite also holds true; Are you sustainable if your production is clean but you trash or burn your unburnt inventory? Hmm…
4. Having no product packaging, but customers walking out with a hand-full of paper and extras
Many companies are abandoning product packaging. Yippee!
But when customers buy your product, why do they have so much extra material?
Do you need a 2-foot long receipt, the extra polybag placed inside a decorative branding bag with a newsletter (although it’s already been emailed)?
5. Using vague words to talk about your environmental impact
‘Natural’, ‘bio’, ‘fresh’, all those words must mean sustainable right?
Apart form being unregulated, these words end up confusing your customers more than anything else. Plus, it may even fool you into believing you are sustainable. When is the last time you had a look at your operations?
Unpopular opinion: just because something is natural does not mean it’s sustainable.
We might have released a can of worms here, but let’s talk real sustainability.
If you find your company doing any of these 5 things, it’s time to change. Hit us up, let’s talk about how to make you authentically green! (Or if you’re shy, check out our free eBook ‘Steps to Being Authentically Green’).