Greenwashing Identified

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 10:23 AM

Greenwashing like the term organic has become all too mainstream. According to Time magazine the market is being saturated with green products. According to a study done by Scot Chase the vice-president of Terra Choice, found that only one out of every 1,018 green products found in a given retail store where actually green.
Going green is bug money. According to the same source as above, the sales of organic products went from $10 billion in 2003 to more than $20 billion in 2007. To help consumers identify what is and isn’t green the TerraChioce website offers some guidelines called the Six Sins explaining Green from Greenwashing. Here they are as follows:

1. Hidden Trade- Promotion of one aspect of a product as environmentally friendly while its negative impact is obscured.
2. No Proof- Environmental claim that can’t be easily verified.
3. Vagueness- Assertion so amorphous that it’s meaningless- like a “nontoxic” claim when anything could be toxic if misused.
4. Irrelevance- Claim that’s technically true but unimportant for the planet.
5. Lesser of Two Evils- Claim that is narrowly true but ignores larger environmental problems-like “green SUV’s”.
6. Fibbing- Claim that is demonstrably untrue.

The Greenwashing Index (www.greenwashingindex.com) is a website that consumers can use as another resource to identify greenwashing. Consumers post ads that may demonstrate greenwashing. According to the Advertising Standards Authority in Britain 561 complaints where reported which is 117 more complaints than the previous year. The Federal Trade Commission is in the process of updating the Green Guide in hopes of helping consumers know what’s really green.

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