How To Do Research On A Company
In my previous post, I spoke about Mindful Shopping. One way to being is by doing your research before your shop, and asking yourself these important questions: Is it ethically made and is it sustainable? However, the real question here is, how do you know if the item was made ethically or if it’s sustainable? Most of the times, we as consumers tend to just read the words “ethically made” or “Eco-friendly," so we assume that the product we are purchasing is indeed those things. However, it is important to do your research and truly see if a company is backing up their claims.
According to Earth.Org , Green washing is when a company or organization spends more time on marketing themselves on being sustainable rather than on actually minimizing their environmental impact. Consumers are more likely to spend money on companies that seems ethical, as being seen as ethical drives profitability.
Many companies have simply put up a facade of sustainability while they continue to engage in activities that cause more waste. Some companies on the other hand, may be engaging in green washing, simply because they are unaware they are doing it. Usually this means they don’t have the expertise, nor do the research on what actually constitutes as sustainability.
Below are some of the things to look for when conducting research on a company:
Does the brand share its core values, and are sustainability and ethics part of those values? Are there quantifiable measures of the sustainability of the brand, such as percentage of recycled materials in their clothes? Perfection when it comes to sustainability and Eco-friendliness is impossible, but laying a foundation and setting up reasonable small steps is a great way to tell if a company is actually sustainable or not.
Third party accreditations and reports
Great place to start when it comes to assessing whether a brand is sustainable and ethical, as they have no vested interest in a brand’s sustainability status, and require hard evidence of sustainable production to gain the seal of approval.
These are claims that are “technically true” but not relevant. One example is a “CFC-Free”- CFCs are banned by law, so this is not truly an indication of sustainability or environmental friendliness.
If a company is not transparent with its practices and claims, it’s usually because they aren’t environmentally friendly. Ask these companies about their other projects like who they support, donate to, etc. This is a telling sign of their actual actions and intentions.
Look for minimal packaging
In many cases, companies using green washing tactics will still have their products in an unnecessary amount of packaging. Which would seem contradictory to sustainability claims.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to companies and question their claims. If you’re unsure, you can usually find sourcing and ingredient information on company websites
Comment below some other ideas on how to make sure a company is indeed sustainable/Eco-friendly.