25 August 2023

Is It Greenwashing: Sustainable Business

Greenwashing, Green Claims Code

Packaging is a sector that has seen a huge amount of pressure on sustainability standards. Not only is packaging a very visible reminder of the impact which consumers have on the environment, it is also one of the only totally quantifiable metrics on how much harm each brand is producing with their carbon footprint. 


Since the Green Claims Code was first published in September 2021, companies have had to work harder to meet the standards set out for them not only by consumers and environmental watchdogs but also the legislation which governments across the world are implementing to try and save the reputation of their countries. It is a well-known fact that big business is the single most detrimental element to sustainable conservation on the planet. Although countries such as China – which do the largest proportion of manufacturing for international companies – have huge carbon footprints, it is big businesses not the countries themselves that make these footprints so exorbitant. 

CO2 emissions for countries

Businesses have started having to make a change to the way they have dealt with the litter problem in the past. No longer is it the consumer’s responsibility to work out how to recycle the packaging for the product that they have bought. Now it is up to the brand to ensure that their customers are responsibly jettisoning their product packaging. A company that is working hard to do this is Coca Cola, who has partnered with Merlin Entertainments for the second year in a row to offer the chance to win VIP experiences at attractions in exchange for empty plastic bottles.


Part of this change is to do with legislation such as the Green Claims Code, watchdogs are cracking down on greenwashing claims, (with legal implications now actionable) which means that companies have to watch what they are saying to their customers to try and get that final sale. 


Why were Green Claims Codes introduced?

Simply it’s because too many companies were found to be including misleading information on their packaging or marketing which led to consumers making purchase decisions which were informed by lies. They might have been small lies, or big lies – but they were made by the companies to try and appear more sustainable and therefore more appealing to their target audiences. 


This of course put companies that actually were being sustainable at a disadvantage. The sustainable market is very competitive but it is also very saturated often including a lot of blanding due to the minimalism of the aesthetic of the sustainable sector. Companies across all markets have been guilty of greenwashing, and as a result the restrictions are only getting tighter on what companies can and cannot include not only on their advertising but also on their packaging and marketing campaigns. There are also worries that countries who implement strong sustainable principles could see huge layoffs in certain currently unsustainable industries like oil and gas – as well as a period of time where the economy struggles to catch up to what it was pre-implementation.


Countries around the world are starting to implement the legislation that international sustainable bodies are calling on businesses to adopt. The bigger the business, the more emissions they have – but also the more money they make for an economy. And countries have to walk a fine line between being part of these international boards and being seen to contribute to sustainable developments – while also not making restrictions so uncomfortable for big businesses that they move to countries where restrictions and regulations aren’t as tight.


There is of course a huge way for companies to help themselves when it comes to selling their brand as sustainable. And that is via packaging. Due to consumer awareness and technological advancements, the packaging industry will change. There are a lot of entrepreneurs who are putting their energy into finding more ethical ways to create packaging and products that do not negatively impact the environment. For example Fruitleather is changing the leather industry, by creating a pseudo-leather fabric made from recycled mangoes, this could change the luxury packaging market as well as the upholstery and fashion industries.


Due to the fast pace of change that we are seeing, there’s a lot of options for companies to implement. However they can be more expensive and time-consuming than less sustainable options, making them less attractive to brands.



If you want to give your clients green packaging that hasn’t been washed with misleading information, get in touch with the BPAK team today to begin your journey into sustainable packaging.