What is Greenwashing? The Real Meaning Behind Food Labels

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

Greenwashing in the beef sector is overwhelming, and chances are you have been ‘fooled’ by it once or twice before. We definitely have🙋🏻‍♀️. Greenwashing involves misleading consumers about the environmental practices of a producer or environmental benefits of a product through flashy ✨ attractive ‘green’ marketing. This type of marketing within “sustainable beef” products makes it nearly impossible for many of us to distinguish credible sustainability producers and reward such with our business [as they deserve]. See the image for some common greenwashing tactics to look out for.

Downfalls of greenwashing: ❌ consumers waste money on more expensive ‘green’ products with fancy labels that are not actually environmentally friendly or regenerative, as inferred ❌ farmers actually sustainably managing their lands and animals do not get the recognition or market share they deserve ❌ buyers trying to support a regenerative cause through their purchases are mislead

Each purchase we make as buyers has an impact. For those of us trying to use our 💵 to further topics we’re passionate about [such as truly sustainable & regenerative beef production], it’s vital to avoid 🙅🏻‍♀️ being ‘greenwashed’ … View the images below for a few examples of claims with limitations [aka beef with fancy 💅🏼adjectives] ...

The following images cover several other “single issue labels” which focus on a specific issue that may be a concern to consumers (ex: raised without hormones, certified grass-fed, certified humane). These labels are NOT empty, but recognize their limitations ⚠️ in that they’re typically referring to a single issue, not a broad set of standards that may be assumed due to the bleed-over effect.

👉🏻When it comes to purchasing high quality beef, 100% grass fed beef from verifiable well-managed, regenerative farmers is the gold standard 💯 but this can be tough to identify. One reliable, credible source of grass fed and finished meat is White Oak Pastures. If you choose to support them, please use code "strongsistas" at checkout to let them know who sent you! To verify claims ✅ and avoid confusion, beef marketers should consider obtaining independent, third party certification to reassure consumers of their practices. More on what to look for in the next post. But ⚠️ LISTEN UP! —> Certification is not always financially feasible for smaller farmers, so the next best thing would be to visit the farm & inquire about their practices. Farmers are typically more than happy to chat about it 🙏🏻 form those relationships!!! Now, let's cover the differences between properly managed pastures and poorly managed pastures to get a better idea of WHY sound management practices are crucial to truly regenerative beef production...

Not all pastures are managed equally🙅🏻‍♀️ When it comes to environmental sustainability, we do not consider feedlots a viable source, but neither are poorly managed pastures. It all👏🏻boils👏🏻down👏🏻to👏🏻management! By purchasing beef from producers responsibly managing their pastures, buyers can avoid contributing to the consequences of poor management —> view the images below for the different impacts on soil health, water, wildlife, & climate between well & poorly managed pastures. A quick comparison will demonstrate why paying attention to this. Is. So. Important!!

We cannot just assume something is beneficial for the environment because it’s “grass-fed” or has a flashy sustainable label, many of which we demonstrated on our previous post. That’s the whole concept of greenwashing ⚠️ —> we must distinguish between what’s *actually providing benefits* to the environment, and what’s instead contributing to soil erosion & global warming if we truly want to have a positive ⭐️ impact with our spending money. Next post we'll discuss one of the ✨gold standards✨to verify the sustainable practices of a farm, but as always, certification is not the end all be all —> get to know your local farmer!!! Ask!!! Observe!!! & if you are uncertain, luckily there’s amazing producers to source from online, such as White Oak Pastures, an incredible regenerative farm in Bluffton, GA who ships to all of the US. Use our code "strongsistas" at checkout to let them know who sent you! Thank you in advance!