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Are you someone who tries to make sustainable food choices but feels confused and overwhelmed by the many green labels and claims on food products? You’re not alone. A new report by the Changing Markets Foundation, a Dutch environmental advocacy group, suggests that greenwashing in the food sector is rampant. The report identifies misleading claims on food labels and in marketing materials, with meat and dairy companies among the worst offenders.
The food system is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions each year, with meat and dairy products being major contributors. It’s no wonder that many consumers are seeking ways to reduce their environmental impact by choosing products that claim to be sustainable or eco-friendly. But how can we be sure that these claims are legitimate?
The Changing Markets report identified 53 examples of misleading green claims on food products and in marketing materials over the past year. Many of these claims are related to climate impact, with products being described as “carbon neutral” or “climate positive” without any scientific evidence to back up the claims. The report recommends banning “outright generic climate claims” and claims based on carbon offsetting programs.
The European Commission is expected to publish new measures to crack down on greenwashing in product labels and advertisements on March 22. The highly anticipated “Green Claims Directive” will force companies to be more transparent about the climate impacts of their products. This is great news for consumers who want to make informed choices about their food.
But what can you do in the meantime to avoid falling for greenwashing? Here are some tips:
- Look for third-party certifications: There are a number of third-party certifications that can help you identify sustainable food products. Look for labels such as USDA Organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, and Certified Humane.
- Check the ingredient list: A product may claim to be eco-friendly, but if it contains ingredients that are harmful to the environment, the claim may be misleading. Look for products with simple, natural ingredient lists.
- Do your research: If you’re unsure about a product’s environmental impact, do some research. Look up the company’s sustainability practices and see if they have any third-party certifications or awards.
By taking these steps, you can make more informed choices about the food you consume and reduce your environmental impact. It’s up to us as consumers to demand transparency and accountability from the food industry. Let’s use our purchasing power to Support companies that prioritize sustainability and honesty in their claims.
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- 5 Ways to Spot Greenwashing
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion Pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!