Is the Term “Eco-Friendly” Being Used Too Much?

 

The Situation:

Are people growing numb to the term “eco-friendly”? What does the term really mean in the eyes of those who truly take care of our earth in comparison with those who just assume they take care of our earth?

For years it’s been used as a marketing and sustainability term to label laws, goods, and services whose purposes were to reduce waste and have little to no negative impact on our environment. But when greenwashing occurs, a huge grey zone is created and it can become unclear what products and services are really in the best interest of our environment. It seems that in today’s age, the term has fallen into the clutter and noise, therefore the average person may not really be sold or convinced enough to revamp their lifestyle into something more green. There is a need for a new spark in the industry that’s honest and true, but still excites and motives people to live sustainably.

 

Greenwashing:

Greenwashing is when an organization or company commits more of its time and resources to appear to be green and sustainable than it actually commits to research or making their products and services sustainable as possible. This is one of the primary reasons why we see the term “eco-friendly” so much and often times why we can’t accurately compare products across the market. Unfortunately, this effort to sell more green products has overflowed the market and consumers have just grown numb to the term. Some of the most greenwashed products and services today are bottled water, clothes, hotels, cars, paper products, and even mattresses. Without a transparent and informative industry, average consumers won’t be as willing to live green.

 

The Solution:

There are several steps that could be possible solutions to get people motivated to live more conscientiously in regards to the environment. The first is that consumers need to be more educated about their on our environment and the products they use. There is a need for simple forms of education that teaches people what products are best to use and what actions are the most effective to take. This can allow people to at least take the right steps into living more sustainable lives. All of this can happen if there is a more honest and open dialogue between consumers and providers of these products and services. While the International Organization for Standardization has implemented rules and regulations for eco-friendly companies through ISO 14020 and 14024, greenwashing is still a conflicting issue. With more transparency in the industry, it will become more difficult for a company to greenwash their marketing if they really aren’t up to standards or making a positive impact. This will reduce the clutter and overflow of the term “eco-friendly,” and will eventually make people more receptive to it in the future.

The second solution is using more creative marketing strategies and products that are still truthfully sustainable. Specifically, the average millennial is looking for something more than your basic product or service. They want something that’s relatable, easy to understand, and as simple as it sounds, something that’s just cool. Considering that millennials are the most sustainable generation and have longer lifetimes to make an impact on our universe, they should become the primary target for “eco-friendly” companies. Unique, informative, and transparent branding for genuinely sustainable products would help get rid of people’s disinterest towards the term “eco-friendly” and ultimately motivate more individuals to live sustainably.

Element's brand image, ethos, and products are a prefect example of this solution.

Our company strives to live in harmony with the environment and make quality products that create very little waste and CO2 emissions. Element’s unique branding that grabs the attention of millennials as well as other age groups. More importantly, there are many great benefits that come with using our products in substitution of plastics. With our chic, quirky, and informative marketing techniques and products, Element brings a whole new side to the once over used term “eco-friendly” and will ultimately motivate people to embrace sustainable lifestyles.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anca-novacovici/sustainability-is-trite_b_2304166.html

http://greenwashingindex.com/about-greenwashing/