Greenwashing


These days it seems everything from cars to insecticides are being marketed as “green” or “eco-friendly.” This leads me to the question of what qualifies something as truly environmentally friendly or sustainable? Unfortunately, according to this article, there is no such official label for “green” companies or “green” products. This means that consumers are forced to find out for themselves which products can back up their claims of being “all natural” or “non-toxic” and which products practice the method of “greenwashing” (a term coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld). However, the reality of the matter is that most people aren’t willing to put in the time and effort required to separate the actual green products from the phonies, so they rely on these corporations to tell them, using various methods such as being overly vague or failing to provide proof of their claims to falsely promote their product as being environmentally friendly. Here is a website that lists products that have been given an environmental stamp of approval by Canadian program Ecologo, for some standard of authenticity among allegedly “green” products.

Matt Z.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    shermanj said,

    Matt, thanks for your post. I think you have found an important topic and have hit the nail on the head – how do we know that what we are being sold is truly as “sustainable” or “natural” or “organic” as the seller insists? And, why should we believe them, when they have a vested interest (i.e. they want us to give them our money)?

    Does anyone have any examples of products whose “natural” or “eco-friendly” labeling might be dubious?

  2. 2

    aspenb said,

    Matt, I see your point and next time I decide to ‘go green’ at the store I’ll do a double take to be sure they’re not bsing me for my money.
    Here’s an article that shows the slopes in Aspen with all the intent of being green, and yet less and less of the chances to do so.

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_44/b4056001.htm

    ~Aspen B.


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