Eco Atlas informs, warns against 'green washing'

2013-10-02 12:30
Eco Atlas has said that consumers have to become more aware of how buying decisions lead to environmental impacts. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Eco Atlas has said that consumers have to become more aware of how buying decisions lead to environmental impacts. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Despite the urgency of climate change that will lead to environmental impacts, an organisation has warned against companies that use environmental concerns for profit.

"Green has become very in vogue and along with that comes the dangers and pit falls of green washing. I think there are many companies that are guilty of using environment as a marketing ploy to tap into an exclusive market," Rhian Berning, eco ATLAS founder told News24.

Eco Atlas highlights companies that are environmentally responsible by providing consumers with eco-friendly options when choosing where to eat, stay or purchase products.

Berning indicated that as the issue of climate change becomes more important to consumers, the need arises for accurate information on companies responding to environmental challenges.

"However, there are also many businesses that are really walking the ethical talk and they need to be given recognition and exposure for doing so. Eco Atlas focuses on being transparent about the eco choices businesses are making, you are either recycling or you aren't, it's that simple," said Berning.


The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently completed its Fifth Assessment Report on the likely impact of climate change.

The report says that scientists are more than 95% certain that climate change is man-made.

"No doubt, Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change because of multiple stresses and low adaptive capacity. Environmental and climatic stress also raises existing inequalities between rich and poor," Stellenbosch University Professor Oliver C Ruppel told News24.

Berning said that it is critical that consumers see the link between their buying decisions and the impact on the environment.

"It’s crucial to see the world as an interconnected system where every action has a reaction. The choices people make on a daily basis whether they live in the city or the country inform the world we live in and the world our children will inherit. In this age of information it is a conscious choice to remain ignorant about the consequences of your actions and the choices you make."

Some retailers have taken positions on environmental issues and conservation, and Berning urged consumers to ask tough questions on the supply chain for goods on the shelves.

"Ask your favourite suppliers where their products come from and make an effort to reduce the waste and emissions your own family makes. Start in your own backyard. And importantly, vote with your wallet by supporting businesses with eco and ethical practices."

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    environment  |  climate change

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