Is this Reverse Greenwashing?


Alyson Gessner

Excuse me. What?

June 20, 2021

When I wrote a review on Koia—a company that sells all vegan, healthy protein shakes and smoothies—I was expecting to rate them above 2 planets. Instead I gave them a .75. This low score came from their marketing, as I scored them so low due to the lack of transparency on any factors of their sustainability. In fact, I don’t think the word “sustainable“ is ever mentioned on their website. It’s almost like Koia doesn’t realize that vegan products don’t just cater to dietary restrictions, but environmentalists too.

The best way I can describe Koia’s marketing is as reverse greenwashing. Instead of trying to deceive their customers into thinking their product is sustainable, they don’t seem to want to appeal to their environmentalist demographic.

Now I’m not saying that Koia is actually sustainable and hiding that truth from their consumers. I don’t know how sustainable any of their sourcing is since they never address where their ingredients or packaging materials come from. What’s striking to me here is that Koia has an opportunity to fulfill a niche in the protein shake market. We want sustainable options for every sort of product, and a brand that specializes in vegan post-workout drinks is already one step ahead.

I appreciate that Koia isn’t lying to us, but I want them to jump on this opportunity and become the sustainable option we don’t yet have. Can they release information about their packaging, and maybe switch to recycled plastic? Can they source their ingredients in a more sustainable manner and share that with the public? And besides, Koia is a small company cofounded by a Black woman! We want to support small, minority-owned businesses, and we want to help the planet. Koia is the perfect candidate to really shake up the protein shake market, and I would love to see a business like them live up to their potential.

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