As consumers, we often view a product's packaging or branding as we stroll down aisles and make purchasing decisions for our families or our companies. When buying, one thing that many people consider is the impact of their purchase on the environment. In fact, in 2015, Nielsen found that 66% of customers thought about the environmental effects of their purchase and among millennials, that percentage jumped to 72%. That means that the labels, packaging and marketing are things that matter to the majority of people making big decisions½but what if those things are telling you something that's untrue? When it comes to environmentally-friendly brands, you may think you know which ones are truly "green", but you may not realize that in trying to do good in the world, you may actually be doing harm. That's because of something called 'greenwashing', and here's why it matters to the motor industry.
What is Greenwashing?
The term 'greenwashing' was coined in the 1980's by a man named Jay Westerveld, who exposed the way that hotels were marketing their reusable towels. He pointed out that although the hotel was reusing linens, it was damaging the environment with wasteful laundering practices. This was greenwashing at it's finest: duping consumers into believing they were helping the environment instead of recognizing slick marketing practices. Greenwashing happens when companies choose to invest in their packaging and promotions rather than look at their practices with a critical eye and honesty. In reality, some companies purposefully put more money into their marketing in order to steer and distract consumers away from unethical environmental things they are knowingly doing. You may have heard the term "whitewashing" when it comes to corporate business, and that is when an organization covers up scandals or missteps by presenting a biased set of information. While this term is more well-known, the same principal applies: it's deceitful, and leads customers or consumers to a false sense of security. It's damaging to brands and most importantly, to people who are left confused and betrayed.
How can you avoid greenwashing in the motor industry?
Because of these deceptive practices that have been happening since the 1980's, studies show that consumers now hesitate to believe environmental-based claims. This has happened most notably among brands like Tyson, who was exposed for deceptive marketing about their chicken products being antibiotic-free. But it's not just food or household products that are affected by the fallout of the decades of greenwashing: it's also companies like ours, making industrial motors and wanting to have merit-based, sustainable practices. The secret to keeping your brand reputation intact? It's having all of the evidence to back up your claims½and we do. In 2007, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing did a study that identified six ways that greenwashing impacts companies and brands. They termed these the "six sins of greenwashing", and they include: "The sins of the hidden trade-off, no-proof, vagueness, irrelevance, lesser of two evils, and fibbing". Do these apply to the motor industry? The answer is a resounding YES, and here's how we combat some of these every day here at Adventech.
- We have researched-based facts behind our words: It sounds pretty and ideal to purchase industrial motors from a company that is "eco-friendly", but being able to see the evidence is another thing entirely. Specifically, our "green paper" shows that our Maxeff motors are reducing grid dependency, and therefore dropping energy costs. The Maxeff circuit compensates the grid that feeds it, and eliminates virtually all wasted energy versus standard induction motors.
- We are actively reducing pollution: The generation of electricity is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to air pollution, and the size and severity of the impact depends on how and where it's being generated. Industrial motors account for over 30% of all pollution in the United States, and although all pollution cannot be eliminated in the modern age, it can be reduced. Every reduction can make a difference over time.
- Products that are designed to be repairable or reused are better for the environment: Our Maxeff motors are able to be repaired and have a longer lifespan than traditional motors, because of how efficient they are. Because of our commitment to sustainability, we also are able to consult with clients to convert existing motor frames to models with higher power factor.
- Our motors have been tested and verified: Not only are our motors reliable and more sustainable than traditional motors, we can prove it. We used third-party testing from Advanced Energy to evaluate performance and efficiency, and the results showed speed and torque performance. When they are not efficient, these two factors can impact the lifespan of a motor, and can cause excessive heat and breakdown. Maxeff motors have test results that showed efficiency in thermal stabilization and power factor, and efficiency in power usage means less electricity used, and reduced use of the power grid.
Because the industrial motor field is one of the primary users of electricity (and therefore producers of pollution), any change made is meaningful, but it needs to be real change. Considering and designing change is something that can be holistic, and it can be positive for us economically as well as environmentally. The choices we make daily are important, and they shape a future that impacts us all. As buyers or consumers, we can use discernment in our purchasing decisions, especially when it comes to large items like industrial motors.
At Adventech, we believe that the small and large decisions matter. Instead of just purporting to be "environmentally friendly", we are able to substantiate our claims through transparency. That's why we have a whole section of our website where you can read customer testimonials, view real-life statistics and energy savings, and understand what makes the Maxeff difference. Our team can help guide your company through a large motor purchase, and get you on the road to making more sustainable and energy-efficient decisions for your brand. Then, you too can assure your audience that your desire to positively impact the environment is more than just empty words.