Greenwashing & Hypocrisy
MANUFACTURING in general is not particularly environmentally friendly. It consumes raw materials, frequently having to be transported to the factory, with processes often requiring massive use of valuable resources such as energy and water, and it can also cause pollution and waste, etc.
Of course, advances in recycling along with more reuse of many products, while using more renewable raw materials in production have all made a difference. But alarming and often irreversible levels of environmental damage continue to be generated by the production of certain consumer goods, including food, while resultant emissions of greenhouse gases are a major cause of climate change.
Meanwhile, the primary concern of manufacturers in a capitalist economy is short term profit, often in the face of strong competition. And although customers increasingly demand eco friendly products, manufacturers have to balance measures to prevent environmental harm with ‘balancing the books’. And so while trying to please their shareholders (by pleasing their customers), many companies resort to louder and louder ‘eco friendly’ messages via advertising and PR while maintaining the principles of capitalism, which mean cutting costs.
And that doesn’t always lead to using the most ‘eco friendly’ means of production.
A recent international study revealed that if a group of the world’s biggest companies were held accountable for their damage to the environment, it would cost them at least one third of their profits, running into many billions of pounds.
Hence it is unsurprising that certain producers, particularly in America, are deliberately resorting to greenwashing and hypocrisy, blatantly using sustainability as a sales gimmick while actually doing very little to protect the earth’s rapidly depleting resources. In most cases there is no independent verification of their greenwashing claims which they apply to only a limited area of their total corporate behaviour.
For example, some hotel groups call themselves ‘green’ because they allow guests to choose to sleep on the same sheets and reuse towels, but allegedly do very little to save water and energy where it counts — on their grounds, in their kitchens, with appliances and lighting, and their vehicle fleet.
Of course, there are businesses, including some notable names in the flooring industry, who are sincerely committed to environmental measures and are allocating significant investments to that end. But others deceive the market by glibly jumping onto the greenwashing sbandwagon. It’s not surprising that consumers and clients are confused.
But reality could help focus minds. A new study claims that greenhouse gas levels are now rising at their fastest rate for 30 years. Resulting global warming could have catastrophic effects on human health as worldwide temperatures rise and major economies could be wrecked as extreme weather causes widespread damage to infrastructure.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.