Here's How Elevate and PURE are Using Their Digital Presence to Battle 'Greenwashing' in the B2B Packaging and Labelling Industry

Richard Coen founded Distant Village in 2000 with the aim of creating fair-trade handmade artisanal packaging for its business clients. The idea proved successful, but it soon became apparent that there was a real need in the industry for genuinely sustainable and eco-friendly packaging solutions. The decision was made to change the focus of the business from handmade to eco-friendly, and the company name was changed to Elevate Packaging in sympathy. A separate brand, PURE Labels, was established to carry the same ethos to the product labelling market.

While Elevate Packaging and PURE Labels are taking their responsibilities seriously in working to create a more sustainable solution for B2B packaging needs, they find themselves constantly embattled with other brands which don't - Brands which understand the public relations benefits of appearing to be eco-friendly, but in actuality are often nothing of the sort.


Taking its name from the filmmaking practice known as 'whitewashing' - telling or retelling a story which features predominantly non-white characters, but casting Caucasian actors in lead roles - 'greenwashing' involves companies making largely unsubstantiated or misleading claims about the sustainability or eco-friendliness of their products and/or packaging.

Generally implemented as a PR exercise, greenwashing is used to exploit the market of environmentally-conscious businesses and consumers, without being willing to put the time, money, or effort into doing it properly.

"Eco-friendly products have been gaining in popularity, and of course this is great!" says Richard Coen, Founder and CEO of Elevate Packaging and PURE Labels. "But unfortunately, with that comes a few companies who are eager to take advantage of this, and will use misleading sustainability claims on their products. This happens in the B2B world as well, and we feel that it's important for both businesses and customers purchasing in stores to know exactly what they are buying. We love to "use our powers for good" and help companies choose the best authentic sustainable packaging to match their ethics and best represent their brand."

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For companies such as Elevate and PURE, greenwashing is a huge problem. As brands which go to great efforts to take eco-friendliness seriously, it's a source of great pain - both ethically and financially - when less scrupulous companies take shortcuts.

Education is the Key

However, through their digital presence, Elevate Packaging and PURE Labels are going to great efforts to educate their B2B clients on greenwashing. Using well-researched and informative content marketing, Elevate and PURE are taking the fight to the greenwashers.

By exposing the spurious claims made by some brands, and suggesting ways they could be improved, Elevate and PURE are making sure their B2B clients are armed with all the information they need to make informed choices.


What is it? Earthfirst PLA is a flexible polymer label made from corn- rather than petroleum-derived chemicals.

Why is it problematic? Corn-based plastics require the use of resource-intensive crops that require significant irrigation (water) and chemicals (herbicides and pesticides), and may be made from GMO corn. These labels are neither recyclable nor compostable (adhesives on these labels are not compostable, only the face stock is compostable).

Suggested alternatives: Bioplastic made from wood cellulose. It is certified compostable and available in silver, white and transparent materials [#805-1, #806-1, #807-1]


What is it? Brown natural-looking paper adhesive label. Can be non-recycled virgin paper or recycled.

Why is it Problematic? While Recycled Kraft paper is available, recycled labels alone are not necessarily recyclable or recycle-compatible themselves due to the adhesives used, therefore it is not a helpful solution where recycling or composting is required.

Suggested alternative: Compostable Sugarcane [#800-1]


What is it? Made from a mixture of repurposed coffee bean bag fiber and other post-consumer waste material.

Why is it Problematic? Like Recycled Kraft Paper, Kona paper labels are recycled but are not recyclable, recycled-compatible, or compostable due to the conventional adhesives used. They are not a good solution where packaging is required to be recyclable or compostable.

Suggested alternative: Compostable Sugarcane [#800-1], or Recycled with Recycle-compatible adhesive [#906-1]

(Information source:

In marketing their digital content around combatting greenwashing and educating prospective clients, Elevate Packaging and PURE Labels establish themselves as thought leaders in the industry and trusted sources of not only high-quality written material, but also truly sustainable and eco-friendly products.

The final word goes to Elevate Packaging's Founder and CEO, Richard Coen.

"Elevate Packaging is dedicated to creating sustainable packaging and labelling solutions for eco-friendly brands. We have been pioneers in sustainable packaging and labels since 2000 - investing in the research and development of sustainable packaging products and bringing those innovations to the businesses that need them."

You can hear Elevate Packaging's Founder and CEO, Richard Coen, speak at B2B Online 2018 in May, at the Chicago Marriot Downtown.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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