With consumers caring more about the environmental impact of the companies they support, it makes sense that brands would choose to advertise all the green choices they make. But how can consumers tell the difference between companies that genuinely care about the environment and companies that are simply greenwashing? Some environmentally conscious individuals shared ways they spot the difference between companies’ claims. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Robert C. Bird

Robert C. Bird

Even in Difficult Economic Times

One of the strongest ways a company can show that it’s concern for the environment is authentic is by remaining loyal to environmental principles even in difficult economic times. Firms can too easily ignore their professed values when those values become financially inconvenient in the short term. A company that remains committed to those values even when unprofitable to do so signals that they are important to the company and genuinely held.

Part of Everything the Company Does

The first thing I like to look into is whether or not a company is just talking about the environment in its marketing material or if there’s more substance behind it.

You can see this across all kinds of industries. With tires, being committed to making them last longer and driving greater fuel efficiency are good for both the environment and consumers. Companies that do that and help people figure out how to recycle or repurpose old tires are genuinely helping.

Brands committed to the environment go beyond using it as a marketing tool. Their environmental concern is embedded into everything the company does. Their initiatives and programs often precede and go beyond their marketing campaigns.

Brad Johnsmeyer

Brad Johnsmeyer

Co-Founder of .
Sameera Sullivan

Sameera Sullivan

Matchmaker at .

Part of the Brand’s History

Distinguishing genuine environmental commitment from greenwashing involves thorough scrutiny. Authentic brands exhibit a consistent, long-term dedication to sustainable practices, transparently sharing their eco-friendly initiatives. Look for third-party certifications, as these substantiate a brand’s claims. Personally, I’ve navigated this by researching suppliers, ensuring they align with our sustainability values.

True commitment extends beyond marketing; it’s ingrained in the company’s culture. For those seeking sincerity, delve into a brand’s history, partnerships, and community engagement. Greenwashing often falters under close examination, revealing a lack of substance. Trust is earned through genuine, sustained environmental responsibility, not mere rhetoric.

Verifiable Proof

Today, brands have come to recognize that contributing their part in helping sustain our planet helps improve their reputation and positively influences their brand’s equity. However, while some brands honestly pursue this agenda, some others merely wish to have their cake and eat it, too. In my experience, I have learnt that the best way to distinguish between a brand that really cares for the environment from those that are merely green washing, is that the one is very transparent in providing proof for their claims and promises, while the other is all talk.

A brand that genuinely cares about helping make the planet last would be more keen on being transparent and accountable. They would be more focused on achieving specific sustainable projects, rather than generic agendas that are simply unrealistic and plainly ambiguous. The fact is, when brands are all talks and no proof of action or intention, they are mere green washers. Brands that honestly cared for the environment would always back up their talks with verifiable proof.

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson

General Manager at .
Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey

President of .

Collaboration With Other Green Companies

It can be difficult to determine if a company actually cares about the environment or if they’re doing it simply to gain support from their customers. If the company uses vendors or works only with other companies that also care about the environment is a good measure as to whether they’re genuine or not. A brand can create ads that show they care about the environment, but if they don’t partner with others who do the same, then it’s a hollow pledge.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.