Greenwashing – all that glitters is not gold ….or green

Greenwashing is information, green marketing or green PR, that is designed to mislead and which is widely used by companies to promote the perception that the company’s products are environmental friendly, natural and sustainable.

It’s holiday season and many of us will enjoy the sun either here in the UK or somewhere else. We know we’ve to protect ourselves and the children so we all get a sun protection.
We hope most of you will be very conscious about what they buy, because that is our business, but unfortunately, something which is sold as natural sun screen, doesn’t mean that it is actually natural. If you look at the list of ingredients on the backside (INCI), you too often might find synthetic ingredients like ‘Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate’ (Octinoxate), a petroleum by-product, so definitely not natural, and ‘Carbomer’, a water-soluble acrylic acid, so not very natural either.
These are two synthetic sunscreen filters, including the hormone-active, health-threatening ‘Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate’, a synthetic film former, and ‘Carbomer’. So, these are definitely not natural cosmetics.

To produce a good and really natural sun protection is not easy. And where do you get the best? Well, you know where …..;)

Here are some other tips to help you to avoid being misled by improper or false label claims:

How transparent is the company? This basically comes down to what ,  and how much , they’re truly sharing with us. What’s on their website? Their social media? What are their reviews? What data do they share to back up their claims of social or environmental impact?

Be cautious of products making general claims of ‘100% natural’, ‘100% organic’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ without information as to how or why. The recently updated and re-released Federal Trade Commission Green Guide provides information on the types of claims that companies are allowed to make regarding green products and which ones require verification. If you see a claim with no verification either on the package or the company website, then the claim may be misleading.

Avoid products that make irrelevant claims, like that a product is ‘CFC-free’. CFCs were banned more than 20 years ago.

Look for a seal or certification mark from a recognised, independent third party specialising in green claims. Check with the certifier to verify the product is truly certified.

Read the product’s packaging. While a product may be green, is the packaging green as well and can it be discarded in an environmentally safe way?

Don’t be misled by pretty pictures or the use of earth-friendly colours on product labels. Just because a product label shows a forest doesn’t mean the product inside is green.

Read product usage instructions and avoid those that display warnings on the label, such as ‘caution’ which typically indicates that the product is hazardous to you and/or the environment.

Question percentage claims, such as ‘This product contains 50% more recycled content’, fifty percent more than what?

Be cautious of hidden trade-offs. For example, many products today are more energy efficient but may still be produced from hazardous or non-recyclable materials.

When we started working with our partner company RINGANA, we did try to find a catch, but after a couple of weeks we gave up, and came to the conclusion that RINGANA is transparent in every possible way.

We want you to be conscious about all the products you buy: organic is too often not 100% organic and natural is too often not 100% natural.

If you have any questions/comments or if you want to know more about RINGANA’s philosophy, please feel free to contact us.