In this environmental video essay, I take a quick look at greenwashing using Fiji Water’s marketing campaign as a case study. I explore why green products are not necessarily as eco-friendly as their packaging suggests.
Transcript Provided by YouTube:
Walk into any grocery store, and you’re bound to see it green marketing
It seems to be almost everywhere these days. Our eggs are all natural and our shampoos are encased in green labels
adorned with leaves and generic trees. In many respects, this push towards an eco-friendly or
Consumerism is a positive change. Organic produce and sustainably-made clothing are needed if we are to reduce
industrial and personal footprints
But unfortunately, hidden among these ethically and environmentally driven products lies an insidious form of advertising.
From bath products to meat packaging greenwashing occurs in almost every sector of the
Consumer market. But today, let’s take a close look at how Fiji water uses ad campaigns to construct a green image around its otherwise
company. But first, why exactly is green washing bad?
Quite simply, it plays into a consumer’s desire to live a green life without necessarily creating a
sustainable product. And on a deeper level,
one of the greenest things to do is to buy fewer things. So no matter how great the product is
It’s probably still kind of deceptive to market it as green.
So greenwashing means using titles like all-natural or eco-friendly
Or simply using a green background in order to entice a customer into buying a product that is by no means
environmentally friendly. In some cases, bigger companies that falsely label their products as eco-friendly,
like eggs labeled farm fresh or all-natural,
can often out-compete smaller companies who are more environmentally
grounded and actually employ ethical practices while creating their product
Fiji water’s recent marketing campaign encapsulate the essence of this greenwashing.
Fiji water is a gift
from nature to us, to repay our gift of leaving it completely alone
Bottled at the source, untouched, unmanned
It’s Earth finest water
While aesthetically pleasing and pleasant to watch, there are a number of aspects that work hard to shroud Fiji water’s large
environmental footprint in a cloud of green. For one, the bright double exposures of nature flickering within the edges of the bottle
immediately cue us to Fiji water’s connection to nature, especially when contrasted with the dark
cityscape background. The water bottle appears to be a perfect image of a world
quote-unquote untouched by man. The visuals are then compounded with the narration of a young girl who anchors the ad with this
proclamation: “bottled at the source, untouched by man”.
Clearly, this ad works hard to paint Fiji water as a part of Nature, rather than what it really is.
Water, bottled in plastics, that take many years to degrade,
shipped via intensive transportation from Fiji to destinations around the world. Both these practices wreak Havoc on the environment,
including the air and the water. And to bring Fiji’s negative impact into sharp relief
47 percent of people who live in Fiji
don’t have access to clean safe drinking water, according to the World Health
Organization. This commercial is just a small part of Fiji’s larger campaign that attempts to reimagine the bottled water
company of the essence of nature. Spreads like this reveal the larger work at play in Fiji’s greenwashed
They are pursuing environmentally-minded customers by framing their water bottles as a
completely green product. Fiji tells us a one-sided story that appeals to their customers’ moral conscience
You can’t help but choose Fiji over other bottled waters because they frame purchasing a Fiji bottle as a way to reduce
carbon emissions and save the Fijian rainforest, when in fact their product is inextricably tied to
assistance of pollution that are causing carbon emissions and deforestation.
Greenwashing comes in many forms, and it’s not often as clear-cut as with Fiji water.
So understanding how and why green washing works is essential to spotting a critical
deconstruction of a cleaning product is necessary if you’re buying it solely because it’s green.
Oftentimes, nature and trees are used to create the impression of an eco-friendly
product, when there’s really no substance to back up those claims. So do some research and shop with an intention.
Because the collected power of consumers
can steer companies towards more truthful and ethical products.
This video is made possible in part by the wonderful people who support me on Patreon. If you’re interested in helping me grow this channel,
head on over to Patreon and pledge a small amount of money for every video I release. In return,
I’ll send you gifts like a handwritten
thank-you note, or in our changing climate sticker. As always, if you like what you just saw, share it around and subscribe.
Thanks so much for watching, and I’ll see you next Friday
This post was previously published on YouTube.
Photo credit: Screenshot from video.