Get buckled in cause this one is going to get a little hairy. I recently posted an article over how to spot a greenwashing company (article here), and by the end of writing that, I could feel myself getting heated over the topic and how it puts advertising in a bad light. If you didn’t know, I’m going to be graduating in May of 2021 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Advertising, so this is a topic that I felt like I had some extra perspective on.
Eco-friendly minds grind my gears in more ways than one, but the most important one I think is the fact that brands having an “eco-friendly” line just proves that they can make the products that they already have more sustainably and they just choose not to. What makes me even more mad is the fact that we usually as a society give these companies a pat on the back for trying to be more sustainable instead of asking the tough questions and also expecting them to change their practices.
These companies also make tons of excuses when it comes to them expanding their entire product lines to be more sustainable. They cite that it would be too expensive or that the price would rise causing the expense to come back onto the consumer, which is just their way of saying that they wouldn’t be able to make the same amount of money off of it. To them, it’s much more important to make money than save the planet which we live on which just shows you how screwed up the world has become.
I was shocked when one of my business professors actually openly talked about this in one of our classes. She basically said that most companies could change their practices and make everything better for the environment while still keeping everything the same price for us, but they just won’t because it would end up cutting into their profit margins, sometimes by just a few cents depending on what they are producing.
What also really gets to me is when companies say that a certain way of doing business, like using recycled materials or a closed loop system, just would never work logistically to begin with. That’s obviously a bunch of B.S. because there are plenty of sustainable companies working with these systems and having zero problems. The Girlfriend Collective uses recycled plastic to make amazing leggings, For Days has a closed loop system to create all of their clothing, Buffy and Sheets & Giggles create bedding from sustainable materials. I could go on.
Usually these eco-friendly lines are there just to boost up the brands PR because almost always when these lines are announced, there are waves of publicity around them, praising this company for doing the right thing, when all it really is is a cover to not only obscure the narrative of what the company is actually doing, but also to charge you even more for product that costs literal cents for them to create.
As a society we just need to be holding these companies accountable and also expect more from them in terms of what they can do for us as consumers but also for the planet.