Glove Intelligent Assistant
Greenwashing is a term used to describe a common marketing tactic to mislead consumers into thinking a product is more sustainable than it actually is. They appeal to consumers who care about the environment without investing in real, environmentally friendly operations. The term was first defined in the 1980s by Jay Westerveld, describing how hotels would use the ‘save your towel’ movement to cut down water usage and laundry labor expenses rather than actually combating climate change. This term is trending since many consumers are becoming more conscious about the impact companies have on the environment. In December 2019, First Insight surveyed consumers in the U.S. on how sustainable practices are impacting shopping habits and purchase decisions. The results show the growing expectation for sustainable goods, as the current generation makes purchases dependent on the environmental ethics of how a product is manufactured.
How can we tell when greenwashing is being applied?
Consumers are looking to purchase sustainable products to help combat climate change with what they can do as individuals, often willing to even pay a premium for sustainable products. You can spot it when companies use these tactics: vagueness in description of why their product is sustainable – followed by lack of real proof, clearly only executing symbolic actions, using overinflated or exaggerated claims, selectively disclosing only positive aspects while hiding the negative processes, or having hidden negative tradeoffs. A clear example would be when Volkswagen claimed their diesel cars emitted less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Instead, the company cheated emission tests by fitting defect machinery in their cars to alter emission levels when being tested.
What consumers should instead look for is green marketing. The term is used to describe marketing (green) products that are truly environmentally friendly. The core values of green marketing and green products are centered around sustainable manufacturing. In the manufacturing process, there must be reduced or zero carbon footprint, reduced or zero water pollution, recycled ingredients or materials, recyclable products, renewable ingredients/materials, eco-friendly packaging, and a reduced or zero plastic footprint.
What is different about EcoTek?
EcoTek is not an attempt at greenwashing but rather green marketing. EcoTek follows the qualities of green products and green marketing; being free of toxic chemicals, made with biodegradable materials, and manufactured sustainably. SW complies with the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guide to verify our sustainability claims. EcoTek is a move towards waste prevention with our biodegradable gloves. This is a prevalent issue as most glove waste takes a decade to degrade completely. Our R&D team estimates that per every million pairs of gloves used, it would accumulate 6.5 tons of waste just by landfill disposal. The price to recycle that would be approximately $90,000 and would require an investment of 16,667 man hours. While recycling in general is good, recycling disposable gloves in particular is still a questionable route because they turn it into microplastics. Our EcoTek technology guarantees our gloves will biodegrade by 92.6% within 2.5 years. The remaining 7.4% eventually degrades into organic matter, eventually going back into the soil.
EcoTek gloves are tested according to industry standards, specifically the ASTM D5526 test – which simulates results in real life landfill conditions. As well as the ASTM E1963 test, which tests for non-toxic landfill residue. Not only are SW gloves scientifically certified by ASTM standards, but they were awarded 510k by the FDA as well, meaning SW products are FDA approved and in compliance with FDA’s biocompatibility studies and toxicity testing. Our products are backed by verified research and strict testing standards. Not only internally, with our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) certification, meaning our factories are CSR audited and that our glove’s biodegradability claims are 3rd party verified. Being CSR certified means that our internal and external company ethics have been evaluated to align with each other. We are also Forest Stewardship Council certified, meaning our products come from sustainably managed forests.
Ultimately, SW is still working to re-innovate sustainability in the glove industry. We are dedicated to mitigating climate change by promoting biodegradable and environmentally sustainable products. Not solely because the consumer is motivated to buy green products but because SW is working towards a better and sustainable future.
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