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The Impact Of Greenwashing

The Earth is in dire need of our attention, and even though many people across the world are going “green”, the planet needs more sustainable green efforts. Ocean pollution is on a constant rise, and if we really care for sustainability, we need more truly sustainable practices across all spheres whether clean up efforts, products and building materials.

If more corporations take on truly green programs, along with the general population, the dark side of pollution has huge potential to decline. Today, we’re seeing businesses and corporations veer more towards adopting an environmental conscious stance but unfortunately often without legitimate interest in long terms change, and this is where the problem lies. Greenwashing puts massive strain on environmental efforts as businesses are only taking certain measures for the sake of smart marketing at face value. This illusion of sustainability is one of the biggest
drawbacks and is further harming the environment.

What Is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing, along with corporate greenwashing, is a green marketing tactic employed by companies who want to appear to be sustainable or eco-conscious. Through marketing tools such as press releases about green projects, they undertake rebranding measures in products and services that enforce an often false message of sustainability.

Corporate greenwashing is not a new concept. In 1986, Jay Westerveld, an environmental activist, coined the term in response to dishonesty from beach resorts. Hotels and other resorts would publish notices about reusing towels and other resort materials to protect nearby reefs when they were expanding towards nearby waters.

Since then, many companies have intentionally been misleading consumers into buying or using their environmentally-friendly products, resulting in adverse effects on the environment and businesses.

An Example Of The Environmental Consequences?

A palm oil commercial in Malaysia once claimed their palm oil plantations provided homes for native flora and fauna when, in fact, the plantation was a huge contributor to deforestation and the loss of homes. This meant instead of contributing to protecting nature, buying palm oil meant you inadvertently did the opposite.

Plastic Floating On The Ocean

There’s a vast majority of plastic covering oceans, giving the illusion of a floating island. This is due to companies that falsely promote bioplastics, which are said to be biodegradable. Consumers end up throwing plastic materials away with the skewed idea that it will break down in landfills. The result, plastic waste flooding rivers, coastal communities, beaches and the open sea.

What’s the solution?

One of the best ways to solve the issue of greenwashing is through verification which is complex in itself. The responsibility of verification unfortunately lies with the consumer, thankfully many organisations use social media to publicise the truth about the impact of material use, manufacturing or truly green alternatives. Essentially, consumers need to learn to ask more questions and seek information via various platforms before purchasing and
promoting alternatives they’ve come to enjoy.

Practical Solutions For Ocean Pollution

Two ways to prevent ocean pollution:

• Cut down or completely stop using single-use plastics. This includes plastic bags, water bottles, straws, plastic cups, take-out containers, balloons (and balloon releases) and party/ fancy dress decorations and trinkets.
• Join and participate in beach clean-ups. Giving up some of your time to help remove the plastic and other pollutants already piled up in the ocean and on our beaches goes a long way in helping to mitigate the effects of ocean pollution. It also helps to prevent some of the new sources of pollution and diverts recyclable goods from the landfill to be correctly processed.

Help make a difference by joining #SeaTheBiggerPicture at our Beach Clean Up Events and high impact river mouth clean ups too. It’s a fun, interactive way to see the true impact of waste and learn more about recycling and the work we’re doing.



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