Greenwashing building concept

From false claims of being carbon-neutral, to misleading information on ingredient bottles to portray a sustainable emphasis, greenwashing — which is the act of PR teams or advertisers attempting to put a green-friendly spin on something that isn’t environmentally mindful — has been a plight on many industries worldwide. Unfortunately, the green cleaning industry is no exception.

While some greenwashing claims are easier to pinpoint than others, they can come from all tiers of brands, from the global powerhouses or newcomers to the industry, To help end-users identify and avoid greenwashing, as well as BSCs (building service contractors) or other cleaning companies from unintentionally doing so, Servicon highlighted three tips to avoid the pitfalls. 

1. Inquire About New Technologies. With the emergence of new technologies in recent years, many cleaning practices can use far less water, chemicals or emissions compared to previous iterations of equipment or tools. These new options, which include orbital floor machines or engineered water capabilities,  can either significantly reduce carbon footprints or even eliminate them altogether. If companies aren’t adopting these technologies, however, there’s a decent chance greenwashing is evident if claims are made. 

2. Check for Certifications. This one can be especially tricky, as without proper research, a consumer can be tricked by a “certification” that hasn’t been approved itself. To ensure a product is actually green-friendly, look for certifications from the top, verified entities. These include Safer Choice, Ecology, and Green Seal. Certificates. If an advertised certification takes some digging on the internet to find, there’s a decent chance it’s shady at-best, and fraudulent at worst. 

3. Seek the Statistics. Some products that are actually greenwashed can do a really strong job of advertising features that convey green-friendly practices. Be it rechargeable water or scrubbers that “require 50 percent less water than conventional counterparts” it’s on the consumer to be diligent as to how legitimate those claims are. An immediate red flag is if the company or manufacturer doesn’t have verifiable data on hand backing up the claims of these features. If no research is available, it could be all for-show and speculation without any proof of improving sustainability. 

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