Have you delived into the concept of Greenwashing? Chances are high you have encountered it whether it is something you are conscious of or not. Greenwashing – or the act of making exaggerated or just plain false claims about a company or brand’s sustainability or environmental credentials – is to be honest one of the reasons Wizard & Grace exists in the first place.
Not what it says on the tin
As someone working in a super stressful corporate job and trying to balance my stress levels with yoga and holistic pursuits, I burned a lot of candles! I knew about paraffin and synthetic fragrance and I only burned what I believed to be natural essential oil candles and sustainable soy wax, taking at face value the words ‘natural’ and ‘sustainable’. I mean why would they lie?*
After my baby girl came into the world, my sense of smell, always quite good thanks to my eh prominent nose, went into robocop territory and I could sniff a synthetic fragrance a mile away. I realised that my go-to candle brand did use essential oils yes but only a small amount into a vat of artificial synthetic fragrance. I realised how unregulated the whole candle market is, which is quite scary when we are breathing in what the candle emits into the air in our home. And so I made my own.
As I began to make my own candles I realised that soy wax, while plant based, is problematic. Soy as a plant is unsustainable and its farming and the intensive farming practices around its growth and harvesting, is creating deforestation and poverty in origin countries (mostly South America).
Look beyond the buzzwords
The words ‘natural’, ‘sustainable’ ‘organic’ – are buzzwords, keywords to hook a new more tuned-in consumer. We all want those things, right? And they do exist. However as a consumer we need to look behind the words, at the company, at the brand, to research and find out for ourselves if this is what it really says it is. I personally have always admired the ronseal approach to products and advertising – it does what it says on the tin. Which is why Wizard & Grace only contain the most sustainable wax possible – rapeseed and coconut wax. And only contain pure high quality essential oils. And that’s it.
I was so excited then to speak with Shannen Keane from Leafling Mercantile, Ballinspittle about what to look out for and what to avoid when it comes to Greenwashing claims. You can watch back on our discussion from Instagram live here or below is an overview of her tips to avoid greenwashing claims and easily make sustainable choices.
Some of the many valuable insights from Shannen were:
- Shop local where possible for so many reasons, not just to buy from local makers and shops, not only to keep employment in your local area but also to support your own wellbeing - to cultivate community and relationships with your neighbours.
- There are many keywords out there that lot of brands use including sustainable, natural, etc (finding out that some of these claims were not exactly true in the candles I was buying is one of the reasons Wizard & Grace was founded). Do your research. We all have phones in our pockets. Check out the origin company and suppliers where possible.
- Look for transparency. Bcorp companies usually supply supplier lists and are fully transparent with information.
- Look at who owns the company you are buying from. It may just be surprise you!
- Shop seasonally as much as you can.
- If you are lucky enough to have a refill store in your vicinity, use it. Reduce your plastic and packaging.
*Why do businesses/advertising lie - let us count the ways.. Unfortunately not enough space in this ezine :)