“How To” is one of the most important things that a CAC or Sustainability Committee has to know. The mantra of “self-education before educating others” is essential in any endeavor your group decides to get itself involved with. We’ve listed 50 How To” articles in honor of NYSACC’s 50th Anniversary this year, with 1 extra for good luck!
Lena Eisenstein is the Commercial Alignment Manager for Content Strategy at Diligent Corporation. She builds and maintains content strategies that provide relevant, top-value thought leadership that resonates with directors and governance professionals. Lena graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.A. in English and a minor in journalism. She has dreams of fulfilling her passion for the wine industry and one day opening her own vineyard.
51. How to Avoid Being Greenwashed In Food Purchasing? Source: foodrevolution.org
A. Bypass the Packaging and Read the Label
Don’t be fooled by pictures of fruit, farms or any other faux-branding. There are no regulations on the images a company can use on their packaging.
Even though you’re buying a bag of fried potatoes, the image on the packaging of fresh vegetables being pulled from the earth by a burly farmer can easily convince consumers they’re making a healthy choice.
B. Beware of Branding
Another deceitful trick of greenwashing is using earth tones to connote an all-natural vibe. Since the new era of consumers has shown a clear interest in health, brands have begun producing packaging with more greens, browns, and blues, and avoiding bright, flashy, and unnatural colors.
Once again, the visual does not necessarily represent the food. The only way to tell if food is truly healthy (whatever your definition of healthy may be) is to READ THE LABEL.
C. Look for Proof of Green Practices
Look for proof that your products are healthy. Products that are actually healthier and more sustainable will flaunt their certifications, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.
Some trustworthy seals to look for on your products are:
• U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic certification: USDA certification is a reliable source due to their regulations and rules that govern how a product is made from growth to manufacturing.
• Green Seal: Green Seal is an eco-friendly nonprofit that develops standards for companies to comply with to be labeled environmentally friendly.
• Non-GMO Project Verified: The Non-GMO Project is not yet the official certification for identifying non-GMO products, but right now it’s the leading verification. Since genetically modified organisms are a newer concept, there is no official certification yet. The Non-GMO Project is a difficult seal to attain because it requires absolutely no GMO’s down to the cow, plants, and seeds.
D. Stop Trusting the Slogans
A company cannot claim to be “all-natural” if it is blatantly adding chemicals to its products. But there are many ways for “all-natural” brands to side-step the loose vernacular. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate the term “all-natural,” there are no official rules or regulations around the slogan.
Often, companies will use ingredients with compounds derived from plants mixed with synthesized compounds. The only way to truly know if a product is all-natural is by checking the ingredients and researching anything you’re not familiar with.
E. Know What Being Green Really Means
Labels and certifications can refer to a number of different aspects of a product. There is a wide spectrum of practices that go into food production. Does “sustainably produced” mean a commitment to minimal packaging, farming practices, or efficient manufacturing?