As the number of socially conscious shoppers grows, the demand for ethical and sustainably sourced products also rises. A lot of people are choosing to support green companies because they know that purchasing products from these brands can leave a positive social and environmental impact.
Unfortunately, many companies are eager to adopt a greener image solely to gain more profit. Some have been caught “greenwashing,” or marketing themselves as environmentally friendly brands that don’t actually make any serious efforts to use sustainable sourcing, manufacturing, or distribution methods. This has resulted in consumers losing their trust in these brands and becoming more doubtful of organizations that claim to be going the sustainable route.
If you’d like to adopt a greener lifestyle for yourself and pledge your support towards companies that want to help the planet, how will you be able to distinguish a real green company from one that’s not? Below are six things you should look out for to ensure that you’re supporting the right type of organization:
The Company Uses Sustainable and Ethically Sourced Ingredients and Materials
Companies that deal in items like food, beverages, beauty products, and personal care products work with lots of raw material to create their products. That means that they have to find ways to obtain the materials they need to produce on a large scale. In order to meet or exceed their quotas, some businesses may resort to using unethical supply chain practices that lead to unsafe labor practices and environmental harm. Exploitation of workers, deforestation, overfishing, and animal testing are some of the dire consequences of these methods. In the last two decades, urbanization has contributed to deforestation with about 5.6%, exacerbating the already alarming rate of forest loss and further threatening delicate ecosystems and biodiversity.
Sustainable companies frown upon the use of these practices, so they follow a more ethical approach to manufacturing their products. The ones that are serious about making a positive difference on the planet will partner with a green ingredient supplier who, in turn, uses sustainable and cruelty-free methods to manufacture their ingredients and materials. Ethical companies also care about their workers, and they will follow labor practices that comply with the standards set by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to ensure that their workers’ rights are justly upheld.
The Company Uses Eco-Friendly Packaging
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage, and about 400 million tons of plastic waste are generated worldwide each year. Plastics don’t degrade easily or quickly, so the more plastic used by humankind, the more difficult it is to reduce global waste levels. In addition, plastics are made from toxic chemical compounds, which can spread to the earth’s soil and water.
Truly green companies acknowledge the seriousness of the global waste problem and make an effort to use eco-friendly packaging for their products. They are resourceful about using packaging that’s made out of recycled materials, which are easier to recycle and dispose of and safer for the environment.
The Company Cares for Its Workers’ Well-Being
One of the tactics utilized by unethical companies to cut down on costs is to employ cheap labor. This involves paying workers a small salary, placing them in terrible working conditions, and skimping on basic workers’ rights. Workers play a huge role in keeping companies afloat, and sustainable companies know this. Ethical businesses take good care of their workers since they value not only the material resources found in the earth, but the human resources provided by their employees.
Apart from protecting their workers’ rights, sustainable companies also provide their workers with employee benefits such as health insurance, paid vacations, social security, and pay raises. They also make sure that their employees are properly compensated and that their work environment is safe and healthy enough for them to properly do their jobs.
The Company Is Committed to Upholding Transparency
Conscious shoppers trust businesses that aren’t afraid of being honest with their consumers and workers. That’s why transparency matters to sustainable companies. When brands can provide people with hard data showing how sustainable their supply chains actually are, what ethical practices they observe, and what impact their activities have on the environment, the result will go beyond a favorable impression from customers. A green flag in this regard will also inspire customer loyalty and word of mouth.
Aside from being truthful about their business practices, sustainable companies will also take responsibility for their actions. If they slip up, they’ll acknowledge their faults and do everything they can to work through the problem.
The Company Includes Social Responsibility in Their Mission
Adopting a corporate social responsibility (CSR) business model is one of the best ways a sustainable company can give back to their community and to the environment. Companies that have CSR baked into their operations will be able to consistently follow their initiative to improve various aspects of society. This may include providing philanthropic or charitable aid, following a set framework reaching sustainable and ethical goals, and being responsible with their finances.
The Company Has Green Accreditations
If companies that claim to be green are serious about sustainability and ethics, they must have a list of green accreditations to back up their claims. These standards and certifications are issued by official regulatory bodies, and they serve as proof that companies have cooperated with industry authorities when it comes to implementing the most sustainable and ethical business practices.
Some examples of green accreditations customers look at are B-Corporation certification, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) accreditation, Green Business Bureau (GBB) certification, Organic Content Standard (OCS) certification, COSMOS certification for organic and natural cosmetics, and Fair Trade certification. If a company possesses these, it won’t be hard to back up a reputation for sustainability and environmental friendliness.
A lot of consumers are happy to support green companies because these businesses rely on business practices that promote sustainability and ethical employment. Consumers from today’s generation have strong convictions about transacting with companies that mirror their own values and ideals for a better life and a healthier planet. Not all businesses that advertise themselves as such are genuinely sustainable, and some may only be doing lip service to expand their customer base. The six green flags listed above will help a discerning customer or business entity find a sustainable organization that’s truly worth supporting. If you are looking for a reliable and genuinely sustainable waste management service, consider partnering with companies like WM Waste Management Services, which prioritize eco-friendly practices and contribute to a greener future.