By Faye Tester, Greenprint Steering Group member
I think Green is amazing… it’s by far my favourite colour (as you can tell if you’ve seen my many green possessions).
I’d even like to be literally green like Elphaba in Wicked but haven’t quite figured out how to go about it! But it isn’t just the colour I love… it is everything remotely relating to green, this includes Irish Dancing and the environment, a random combination I know. My crazy love of everything green also extends to my favourite day of the year being St Patricks Day…because just for one day a year everyone shares my passion for everything green!
But green is no longer just a colour, it also encompasses a broad range of environmental terms and achievements from Green building to Green tourism. In this context ‘greenwashing’ can often occur when companies misuse environmental terms to promote an environmentally friendly image, trying to appear more environmentally conscious than their activities would otherwise suggest. Energy companies and airlines are common culprits of greenwashing, using marketing to promote their environmental image whilst doing little to actually change their activities. Other companies just rely on using the colour green in their advertising to promote a positive environmental image, even throwing a few trees and leaves to hint at the environmental theme. I think many of the public are easily influenced by adverts like this as we automatically associate them with environmentally friendly. Don’t be easily persuaded by green adverts and environmental cliché images, it’s the company’s actions that really determine whether they are truly or green or just jumping on the eco bandwagon!
Fortunately there are many organisations that have developed specific campaigns to target greenwashing and highlight the worst offenders. A few example websites are included here:
So this year for St Patricks Day, rummage in your wardrobe for some suitable green attire, get jigging and drink some Guinness. But after you’ve done all that, remember to think about the big green planet out there, don’t be fooled by green-washed marketing, make up your own mind, it’s the company’s actions that counts…not those lovely green posters!
Thanks for reading,