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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Greenwashing - An explanation...

Greenwashing - An explanation:

More and more companies are trying to hop on the "green" bandwagon to try and increase sales. As more people begin to live greener lifestyles, the marketing firms have caught on and are doing what they can to market their products as organic, green, recycled and even environmentally friendly. The environmental marketing claims are every where as companies try to greenwash more consumers. With all of the green claims, how does the eco-buyer know what is true and what’s now?

Greenwashing is the term used to bust companies who make false claims in an effort to appeal to the eco-friendly marketplace. These companies hide unpleasant facts and make green claims to get consumers to think their products are really environmentally friendly, when in fact, they are not. Many companies spend a fortune on advertising and marketing instead of really trying to minimize their environmental impact. These same companies claim to have organic cotton, recycled contents or even claim they are in deed an eco-friendly company. Notice I said they "claim". Greenwashing breaks down to the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

Companies that claim to be green are even going as far as to use fake labeling to give the consumer the impression of third-party endorsement, when in fact there is none. When greenwashing ocures, well-intentioned consumers are misled into purchases that do not deliver on their environmental promise or claims.If you have been fooled by green claims in the past, don’t worry, many of us have at some point.

Some common claims are "all natural", "biodegradable", "green", "recycled material" and even "organic". Now, I am not saying that all companies who use these terms are greenwashing consumers, but many are! Knowing what to look for will help you select the real environmentally friendly products.

Here are some great tips to help you sniff out false green claims and spot greenwashing every time!

A credible eco-label is a great way to find genuinely greener products. Look for EcoCert, EcoLogo, Energy Star, Green Seal, GREENGUARD, SFI, USDA Organic or WaterSense logos on product packaging. These are the most common credible eco-labels in North America.

If no eco-label is present, look for products that offer transparency, information and education.

Think about the environmental impacts of your product across its entire lifecycle. If you are unsure of a products impact, simply visit the EcoLogo website and view their list of accredited truly green products.

GreenWashing Index is also another great resource for finding greenwashing claims.This site allows registered users to rate products and submit products for reviews from others. GreenWashing Index helps evaluate environmental marketing claims of advertisers.

So now you know what "greenwashing" is.

Acknowledgements: Green Company News.

The problem of greenwashing

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At November 15, 2009 at 5:38 AM , Blogger ~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Hello from Virginia! I'm finding your blog & postings to be very interesting, informative, and helpful!! Thank you for that!! -Kim-

At November 16, 2009 at 9:38 PM , Anonymous John at Cell Phone Recycling said...

That is also my question, how would we know what is true and what is not. I also encounter something in a grocery store about a product with different label, the first one was an organic product and the other one is local.... So what's the difference?

While many of the companies say that their products are green, have heard a lot of complains that some are using the term "green" to get the attention of the buyers. This one should also be examined by the bureau of foods to ensure safety of the consumers.

At November 17, 2009 at 7:54 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for both of your comments. I try to make my green posts interesting, informative and helpful. I'm pleased you like them.

Information on products can be dubious too.They can be imported from China and repacked in your home country.During the melamine scare I wouldn't use NZ peanut butter because it came from China and was repacked in NZ as local product.


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