Green People’s guide to beauty greenwashing

Green People: making a stand against beauty greenwashing

As a certified organic skin care brand, Green People takes a stance against greenwashing. In this article we explain what greenwashing is and introduce our honest approach to natural and organic beauty.

By Hannah Mepham

8 Minute read

As a certified organic skin care brand, Green People takes a stance against greenwashing. In this article we explain what greenwashing is and introduce our honest approach to natural and organic beauty.

 

What is greenwashing?

In the UK beauty industry, greenwashing refers to making clean beauty claims that you cannot substantiate.

Examples of greenwashing include implying that a product is natural when it actually contains a high percentage of synthetic ingredients or claiming that the products packaging is recyclable without making it clear that only parts of the packaging may be disposed of in an eco-friendly way.

According to the government’s Green Claims Code, greenwashing can also include using colours, logos and brand names to imply that a product or service helps to protect or limit damage to the environment.

 

How does Green People stand up to greenwashing?  

Whilst the term greenwashing is relatively new, claiming your products are purer and more eco-friendly than they are is, sadly, nothing new.

In 1994, Green People Founder, Charlotte Vøhtz, became concerned that a lack of regulations in the organic beauty industry allowed skin care brands to claim that their products were natural when, in fact, they could contain just 1% natural ingredients.

By 1997 Charlotte had created the first Green People products and was so committed using high percentage of organically farmed ingredients used in her formulations that she took a stance against greenwashing and successfully campaigned for The Soil Association to introduce the first organic beauty certifications. Read more about our story.

In the next section we explain how Green People continues to stand up to greenwashing so that you always get what you expect from our natural and organic beauty products.

 

We use genuinely organic ingredients

The UK government’s Green Claims Code encourages consumers to look for reputable certification marks as an indicator that a brand is being truthful about its green claims.

To help you trust that we’re as organic as we claim, we voluntarily submit information on our supply chain, our formulations and our packaging for verification by our organic certifying bodies.

All our skin care and hair care products use a percentage of certified organic ingredients, and this percentage is marked on our labels.

If a product holds a certified organic status, you will see the certifying body’s logo on the label.

Organic certifiers and standards that we currently work with include:

 

SOIL ASSOCIATION COSMOS

 

ORGANIC FOOD FEDERATION

THE ORGANIC FOOD FEDERATION

 

THE SOIL ASSOCIATION

THE SOIL ASSOCIATION

 

To achieve and maintain certified organic status we are frequently audited and must show that we do not use ingredients that are banned by certificating body, such as endangered plants, or use ingredients farmed using harmful pesticides.

This timely and costly exercise is not something that we have to do but is something that we consider the right thing to do by our customers.

There are a number of ingredients that we use that cannot be certified organic, such as water and minerals, and some emulsifiers and farming agents are not yet available as organic grade. These are some of the reasons why some of our products do not hold certified organic status.

 

We are cruelty free

In addition to being certified organic, we also submit our formulations to The Vegan Society, The Vegetarian Society and PETA.

All of our products are certified cruelty free by PETA, all are certified by The Vegetarian Society and all but a small number are certified vegan by The Vegan Society.

We display their logos on our products once they have validated that the formulations comply to their definition of vegan, vegetarian and cruelty free.

 

Certification logos

 

 

We’re transparent

So that you can always make an informed choice, we display our full ingredients list on our website. 

Our formulations typically contain more than 70% organically farmed ingredients and we display this information clearly on the label and on the INCI list too.

We’re equally transparent about our packaging and give you clear information on the packaging materials that we use, and how you can recycle them.

 

RECYCLE LOGO

 

We don’t make meaningless claims

Ever wondered why we don’t claim that our face scrubs are microbead free?

That’s because microbeads were banned in wash-off skin care products in the UK in 2018 and it would be misleading to claim that we were being ‘green’ by using ingredients that the UK has banned.

 

We curb our carbon footprint claims

We don’t keep tabs on how many tonnes of carbon we’ve helped stop entering the atmosphere. Instead, we concentrate on doing what we can to be mindful of our impact on the planet.

We choose to purchase our raw materials from organic farms. These sequester more carbon in their soil than non-organic farms[i].

 

Organic farm

 

We also carefully choose our packaging with a preference for sugar cane plastic. Farmed on sustainable land, this plant-based packaging has a favourable emissions profile and for every 1 kilo of sugar cane plastic produced, 3 kilos of CO2 is removed from our atmosphere. This exchange can be described as being climate positive.

Find our more about our packaging choices.

 

We put people first

While we are not part of a fair trade programme, we work with an intermediatory make sure that our community of organic suppliers get a fair wage for their produce.

For example, our Myrrh is sourced from a nomadic tribe from Namibia and Angola called the Himba. Green People works closely with an agent who buys the Myrrh that the Himba collect.

 

Himba Tribe

 

After building a successful relationship with the Himba people, the agent pays a good price for the Myrrh, helping to support their ancient way of life that is under threat from the modern world. Find out more about this incredible tribe.

We also have a long-standing relationship with our Shea Butter suppliers, a women’s collective that’s based in Ghana.

Using traditional methods to source the Shea, they gather the Shea nuts by hand leaving 30% on the ground so their nutrients can be absorbed back into the soil and to allow germination of new seedlings. You can find out more about this remarkable farming community in our post, The story behind our Shea Butter.

 

Discover organic beauty you can trust

Always honest and transparent about its products, Green People was born to create truly natural and organic beauty.

Now over 25 years on, we are still committed to creating beauty products you can trust, using natural and organic botanicals wherever possible and avoiding harsh ingredients.

All of our products are imbued with the concept of nature and science in balance. We source proven natural and organic ingredients that really work to nourish, hydrate and balance your skin.

Here are just a few of our bestsellers:

 

 

Discover our collections below:

Skin care                   Hair care                      Sun care

Make-up                   Body care                    Wellbeing

 

We welcome questions

If you have a question about any of the claims that we make about our organic beauty products or our packaging, we’d love to hear from you. Our friendly UK customer care team can be contacted on 01403 740350, via live chat or at organic@greenpeople.co.uk

 

If you wish to republish this content, please credit Green People as the original creator with a link to "Green People: making a stand against beauty greenwashing". Please do not use an affiliate link.

 

[i] https://www.soilassociation.org/take-action/organic-living/why-organic/better-for-the-planet/#carbon

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