Recently, a respected consumer magazine in South Africa aimed at the homeowner and decorator ran a two-page 'advert' for a leading retailer in which startling claims were made about the environmental suitability of their product range.
The advertorial harped-on about the fact that the products contained organic components and that the packaging was particularly eco-friendly - obvious criteria for their claims one would think! But the 'elephant in the corner' which was not discussed or advertised was the fact that their so-called eco-friendly range contained EDTA - a substance that is not regarded as acceptable by any ecolabel organisation globally because of its suspected carcinogenic properties.
Efforts to get confirmation (or denial) on the presence of this ingredient from the manufacturer of the product range have been met by stunned silence - not even the courtesy of a 'bugger off', so we can only assume our suspicions are well-founded. But why would a respected brand such as this retailer not check these simple facts before (a) finding a manufacturer and (b) claiming that the products meet globally accepted standards of responsibility?
What is it that marketers believe they have over truth? Why are the promotional activities of companies oblivious to the dangers their products pose and how long will it be before consumers catch-on to their nonsense?
As consumers, we need to become far-more selective about what we hear, see or read and we need to start asking questions. Self-awarded labels and pretty pictures tend to sway even the most cynical among us, but does that make greenwashing right? Call these liars out on their claims and boycott their stores and product ranges until such time as they are ready to change and address their obvious oversight.
To Pick & Pay - this is a call to action and a chance to correct what is clearly a lie. Face it or lose your market share to more reliable, honest and sustainable competitors.