Časoris
Letalski promet je eden izmed največjih onesnaževalcev okolja. Vir: Profimedia
Letalski promet je eden izmed največjih onesnaževalcev okolja. Vir: Profimedia

What is greenwashing, and why will it be a crime under the new law?

We should be kind to the environment every day, but especially today as we celebrate Earth Day.

This is increasingly difficult as we are surrounded at every step by products that are supposed to be environmentally friendly.

At the same time, we find it hard to believe that a brand with incredibly low prices is still able to be environmentally friendly.

With greenwashing, companies present themselves as sustainable. However, they usually improve only a small part of their performance.

Most of their business remains harmful and unsustainable.

Very cheap clothes often say that they are environmentally neutral - we have to be careful with such claims. Source: Pixabay
Cheap clothes often say they are environmentally neutral. We must be careful with such claims. Source: Pixabay

The European Union, therefore, wants to ensure that all necessary information is supported by verifiable evidence. This is information about:

  • the impact of the product on the environment,
  • its lifespan,
  • repair options,
  • materials,
  • manufacturing process, and
  • use.

It will also ban claims that the product has a neutral impact on the environment because the manufacturer offsets greenhouse emissions.

Companies offset emissions by investing in projects that deal with their removal from the atmosphere.

The use of fossil fuels is still the main culprit in the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Source: Pixabay
The use of fossil fuels is the main culprit in the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Source: Pixabay

These are, for example, projects that develop renewable energy sources and reforestation.

Nevertheless, these are only short-term solutions that often do not even touch the biggest culprit of carbon emissions – the use of fossil fuels.

Many environmental organizations have therefore characterized the offsetting of greenhouse gases as greenwashing.

Such a measure will, for example, prevent airlines from charging passengers a carbon-neutral surcharge on their airline ticket.

Glossary

Greenwashing is when a company misleads the public to believe it is doing more to protect the environment than it really is.

Verifiable is when something is able to be verified, or confirmed to be true.

A blanket claim is a broad statement that is not supported with detail or evidence.

Deception is the act of deceiving – intentionally making someone believe something not necessarily true, especially if it benefits the deceiver.

Points to Consider

  1. Do you know any other examples of greenwashing?
  2. What are greenhouse gases?
  3. How can you reduce your impact on the environment?

***

The original version of this article was published on 22nd April.

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Dora

Adamič je diplomirana biotehnologinja, ki rada potuje po svetu in približuje znanost najmlajšim.

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Svetina is an English translator, EFL educator, and graphic designer. She is an American who has lived in Slovenia since 2008. She loves hiking and traveling with her family.

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