Sustainability vs. Greenwashing

With continued global education about climate change, more companies are claiming to include sustainability measures in their business practices. Some are genuinely concerned about the encroaching environmental crisis; others use these approaches to market themselves as a company that cares and improve their standing with younger generations.  

An example of a genuinely sustainable company is Clif Bar, a food company that focuses on energy bars. Clif Bar’s main demographic is people who love to spend time doing activities outdoors, so it would make sense for the company to focus on sustaining the environment, as it is enjoyed by some of their most major stakeholders: the customers. As stated in their lengthy sustainability policy, Clif Bar facilities use 100% green power and divert 90% of their waste away from landfills. Clif Bar also frequently donates to nonprofits that focus on bettering the environment, such as American Forests, which is dedicated to restoring forests across the U.S. 

Other brands that claim to be sustainable cause massive environmental harm. Nestlé, the Swiss processing conglomerate, promised in 2018 that by 2025 100% of their packaging would be reusable or recyclable. They not only have made little progress towards this goal but have also been named one of the world’s top plastic producers. Due to this, they have been accused of ‘greenwashing’ by several environmental activism groups, meaning that they market themselves as sustainable to improve their international profile.  

With each passing year, environmental issues become more prevalent, meaning that the debate over real sustainable practices and greenwashing will continue to be escalated. With more people focused on climate change, corporations will feel pressure to create sustainable practices, which they will likely be asked to prove.  

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