Greenwashing in Advertising

With greater awareness that waste is potentially destroying our planet, companies are becoming more ‘green’ with their products. For many of the companies it is within their interest to genuinely provide customers with a ‘greener’ option, whereas there are others who are more greenwash than ‘green’. Certain companies are misleading their customers by claiming their products are environmentally beneficial and friendly, when in fact they aren’t.

A perfect example of this is Huggies brand ‘pure & natural’ by Kimberly Clark. The packaging alone proposes that the product is ‘green’ through the use of grass and leaves along with the claim they use organic materials. This deceptive advertising easily lures in mothers who have their mind set on ‘green’ products to not only benefit their babies but also the planet. During a Huggies press release Clark (2008) explains that ‘pure & natural’ diapers are a super-premium diaper that includes natural, organic materials to provide gentle protection for new babies, as well as initial steps towards environmental improvements, without sacrificing performance.

 

Nevertheless, there is also a lot that isn’t mentioned about the diapers. The products outer packaging is sourced from 20% post-concumer recycled materials. 20% in itself is pretty pathetic, there are companies out there using 100% recycled materials and have been for years. The packaging also states the diapers ‘feature a breathable outer cover that includes organic cotton’ but what it doesn’t tell us users is how much organic content is there? Is it certified organic? Where is it sourced from? They don’t mention the fact the nappy is still disposable which at the end of the day ends up in landfill. Acording to the Wired Fatherhood website,  Shiffert (2014) said that the average baby goes through 5,000 diapers before being potty trained. Because 95% of these diaper changes are disposable most of them end up in landfil. So how ‘green’ really are Huggies ‘pure & natural’ diapers? During a review for Baby Gear Lab, Juliet Surrier (2014) explained, we categorized this product as a green diaper in our selection, but in the end we felt it was really just pseudo-green, as it appears to be more of a marketing ploy to sell a higher priced version than a real attempt at creating a green diaper. Huggies are not out right saying ‘this is a green diaper’ but their campaigns and promotions are selling them this way.

 

 

Another example is Fiji water. Again, this product uses greenwashing techniques into misleading its consumers that if you buy this water you are helping reduce carbon emissions. On their website, Fiji water claims to have been a ‘carbon negative brand’ since 2008 which means that the production, packaging and shipping of the water removes more pollution from the atmosphere than it releases. However scientists have proven this statistic may or may not take place and if so, it will be decades to come.

Companies are simply using greenwashing techniques within advertising to maximise their profits. They are brainwashing their buyers into believing paying a higher price for a premium product will not only benefit them and their lifestyle but also the environment.

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Chait, J. (2009). Huggies goes green!:well, at least goes greenwashing. Available: http://www.blisstree.com/2009/08/24/sex-relationships/huggies-goes-green-well-at-least-goes-greenwashing/. Last accessed 11th Apr 2016.

Chait, J. (2009). Huggies goes green!: Well, at least goes greenwashing Read more: http://www.blisstree.com/2009/08/24/sex-relationships/huggies-goes-green-well-at-least-goes-greenwashing/#ixzz46SmPobTK. Available: http://www.blisstree.com/2009/08/24/sex-relationships/huggies-goes-green-well-at-least-goes-greenwashing/. Last accessed 1st Apr 2016.

Lara. (2011). Fiji Fights Back Greenwashing Claim — Dismissal of Fiji Green Seal Case Affirmed. Available: http://brandgeek.net/2011/05/30/fiji-fights-greenwashing-claim-dismissal-fiji-green-seal-case-affirmed/. Last accessed 8th Apr 2016.

Spurrier, J. (2014). Huggies pure and natural review. Available: http://www.babygearlab.com/Disposable-Diaper-Reviews/Huggies-Pure-Natural. Last accessed 15th Apr 2016.

Wired Fatherhood / John A. Shifferet. (2013). Diaper run zero. Available: http://www.wiredfatherhood.com/tag/pure-natural/. Last accessed 15th Apr 2016.

 

 

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