As people around the globe increasingly become aware of the immediacy of the environmental issues facing our planet, more and more consumers are choosing to opt for greener, more sustainable products. These eco-conscious consumers look for product labels and advertising to inform themselves of the sustainability of the given product before making a consumption decision. Corporations are therefore finding it in their best financial interest to appeal to the growing demographic of eco-conscious consumers by marketing their products as “green” and sustainable50,51. In addition, many governments and intergovernmental bodies are either enforcing, or encouraging corporations to disclose their environmental, diversity and employee treatment policies50,51.
The problem arises, however, when economically driven corporate policies, combined with loopholes in environmental laws and corporate policies, allow brands and businesses to pose themselves as being sustainable and green through vague or false claims, treating their customers unfairly while keeping true-eco-conscious firms at a competitive disadvantage51. Research has shown that although the commitment of different corporations to sustainable and green policies may not be variable, policy implementation and actual sustainability definitely varies between brands52.
Greenwashing is often perpetrated by using smart marketing tactics. In an age where consumers wish to be eco-conscious, brands can alter their packaging to use green colours, images of plants, or plastic packaging that appears to mimic brown paper. Brands may also use words like eco-friendly, natural, or organic wherever they find a legal loophole, without being certified for their claims, or by using words that make it appear as though they are certified without actually being so.
It is therefore important to have a standardization body that rates the sustainability of products based on an explicit framework and by opening the curtains on sustainability and green policies, provides consumers with an honest set of brands and businesses that genuinely promote sustainable living53. Research has shown that sustainability ratings can discourage greenwashing and instead inspire firms to follow through and apply their disclosed ethical corporate social responsibility policies54. As a growing number of consumers start to purchase from, and invest in, these sustainable businesses, the demand for true eco-conscious corporations will grow, and as a result, there will be an increase in effective sustainability around the globe. There are many certifications that exist to validate various aspects of sustainability, but none that provide well-rounded coverage of all 5 of the Sustainable Life App's 5 Factors for Sustainable Consumption. It is the goal of our platform to soon grow to be able to provide such a certification or support governments who wish to do-so. This, in essence, is the purpose of the Sustainable Life App platform.