July 21, 2022- Sustainability vs Greenwashing

What is your best/favorite example of a business or organization that does an admirable job at incorporating sustainability into its operations? 

My favorite example of sustainability that an organization uses is Adidas sometimes makes entire professional soccer team’s jerseys out of plastic that they clean from the ocean. Adidas was also one of the first shoewear companies to make a shoe completely from plastic from the ocean. Adidas focuses on creating oceans clean of plastic waste and in return sacrificing potential profits made from cheaper material opposed to fishing out ocean plastic and using it for good. The idea to use ocean pollution and turn it into a good branding model for professional sports teams is a very innovative way to bring “traffic” to those teams and lead by example for other companies. 

Based on the idea of greenwashing (or another viewpoint or challenge against the idea that the natural environment is a stakeholder), what is an outrageous and/or cynical example of a business or organization whose sustainability efforts are insincere or even detrimental? 

An example of a company that attempted to promote sustainability through their products was Starbucks. The company tried to go away from plastic straws with new straw free lids on their drinks. Instead of reducing the plastic the company was manufacturing, the new lid contained more plastic than both the old lid and the straw combined. This created even more plastic into the environment, which in my opinion is an outrageous way to pretend your company is trying to help the environment. 

As always, where do you think you will see this debate over real/legitimate approaches to sustainability versus greenwashing in the future?

In the future my thought is the debate over legitimate approaches to sustainability versus greenwashing will be very relevant in the government. I feel the argument will be more centralized on forcing companies to become more sustainable or at least limit companies from going in a negative direction. The idea of sustainability is becoming more focused upon in businesses, and I think greenwashing will be very limited due to the amount of people that would take the time to research these ideas and see how the companies are performing in a sustainable manner. I think another debate can be made at the top of businesses when deciding to become more sustainable. The argument over decreasing profits margins because of the use of different products or bringing in more customers that support the idea of a sustainable company.