Greenwashing: More Common Than Not

Green-wash (green’wash’, -wôsh’) – verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

Since 2007, Terrachoice has published reports on the “sins of green-washing”. Most companies are guilty of using false or misleading marketing and communications to convince the consumer that they are trying to be environmentally friendly. Companies use tactics to make claims by using false labels, by not disclosing all information (hidden trade off), by failing to provide proof of claims made, by using vague terms or names, by making consumers choose the “lesser of two evils” and by telling un-truths about their products.

While Terrachoice provides resources and solutions for companies to help them improve their claims to of environmental compliance within their marketing, there are still only 4.5% of companies that don’t commit at least one of these “sins” in their advertising.

Consumers are highly encouraged to demand that the products that they purchase indeed stand up to the claims of being environmentally friendly, chemical free, made with a certain percent of recycled products or whatever the company may be claiming.  By insisting that companies are truthful and not use products that are not living up to their claims, more of them will work harder to comply with environmental requirements and the true definition of being “Green”. 

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