We're all on a mission to do our part for the planet. And in recent years, the focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices has grown tremendously in various industries, including interior design. As conscientious consumers, we want products and services that align with our values. However, with this increased demand for sustainable options, a disturbing trend has emerged – greenwashing.
In the realm of interior design, it's crucial for consumers to be able to spot greenwashing and make informed choices. As the founder and CEO of a furniture brand that prioritises sustainability in our design, I'm here to share some valuable tips and tricks to help you steer clear of false greenwashing claims
So, what exactly is greenwashing? In simple terms, it's a marketing tactic used by companies to create the illusion of environmental responsibility and sustainability. They employ misleading language, images or symbols to make their products or services seem more eco-friendly than they actually are. This deceives well-intentioned consumers who genuinely care about the environmental impact of their purchases, making them believe they're making a sustainable choice when, in reality, they're not.
Greenwashing isn't just harmful; it's also illegal under new EU regulations. So, how can you avoid falling into this trap?
In today's world, some of the biggest offenders when it comes to greenwashing are those who use fancy buzzwords like "sustainably made," "clean," "non-toxic," and "all natural." It may seem like they're singing to the right tune, but here's the catch: these terms don't have universally accepted and clearly defined criteria or standards.
Take the time to investigate a company's sustainability claims. Look beyond the marketing materials and search for credible third-party certifications or labels. Recognised certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) provide assurance that a product or service meets specific environmental standards. Many materials that were once unsustainability sourced can now be sourced ethically. For example, Teak wood, at Unalome Interior many of our products are crafted from Indonesian FSC-recognised teak.
Companies genuinely committed to sustainability are often transparent about their practices and values. They willingly disclose information about their materials, manufacturing processes and environmental impact. If a company is reluctant to provide this information or evades questions, it may be a red flag.
Greenwashing can occur at any stage of the supply chain. Investigate the sources of materials, production methods and transportation processes used by a company. A truly sustainable product will consider the entire lifecycle, from raw material extraction to disposal or recycling.
Embracing cultures and supporting people is a crucial aspect of sustainable interior design. While it may cost a bit more, opting for products from smaller brands often ensures both ethical practices and higher quality. When you emphasise ethically or locally sourced materials, you contribute to the support of local artisans, craftsmen, and small businesses. These individuals and enterprises are essential for preserving and celebrating regional traditions and cultural heritage.