Greenwashing is Slowly Washing Away

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The goal is to deter companies from greenwashing - disingenuously promoting products or services as "green" -  while still promoting green product development, and it seems to be working.  Companies are still churning out greener products while slowly reducing their greenwashing claims.  The first “Sins of Greenwashing” study on the environmental marketing of consumer products was published in 2007 by TerraChoice, an environmental marketing and consulting firm.  Their 2010 report is called “The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition,” and surveys cleaning, housewares, and health and beauty products, among others.

Environmental Leader highlighted the study, which considers claims about the environmental practices of the company as well as the environmental benefits of the product or service.  It seems that categories of products that have grown up with environmental claims, like building, construction, and office products, tend to have a smaller percentage of offenders than categories that are new to making environmental claims, like toys and baby products.

Greenwashing has decreased slightly since 2009, as shown by the rising numbers of products that aren’t misleading customers- up from just 2% in 2009 to 4.5% in 2010. TerraChoice refers to this 4.5% as "sin free," based on their "Seven Sins of Greenwashing" list. Even products that have third-party certification often have false green claims, and though specialty green stores may tout their superiority, they usually carry a smaller percentage of certified products than larger generic retailers.

TerraChoice has recently become part of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) global network.  The UL family of companies serves customers in 102 countries, and is one of the largest independent testing and certification organizations around the globe. TerraChoice will now be able to use the resources of UL Environment, one of UL’s fastest growing companies.

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Comments

Terrachoice manages the EcoLogo “green” label that is on thousands of products. Thing is even EcoLogo certified products commit greenwashing sins. Therefore, Terrachoice needs to protect consumers from Terrachoice! How hypocritical of them to point the finger at other companies when they are fraudulent themselves? In the end, what we have learned is to never trust a marketing company that manages a “green” ecolabel. Terrachoice is promoting one of the biggest "greenwashing" marketing campaign and tricking consumers to buy into EcoLogo, a "greenwashing" label that brings millions of dollars to Terrachoice. company. Shame on Terrachoice!

There is an environmental organization called claimer.org which believes that a system of checks and balances should be created to make sure that firms are indeed sticking to their environmental mandate.

They do so by allowing individuals to register damage claims which they will organize into lawsuits in the private sector against firms that pollute. perhaps this is a good solution to make sure that these firms indeed stick to and support their claims.

There is a new student housing apartment complex that opened in my area. They are promoting themselves as being the first "green" apartment complex around the school but they have made no other claims as to what about their apartment is green. They are also charging exorbitant prices because of their "green" status.

Why are "green" products more expensive? Is it due to the hype around the movement? It would seem to me that if the products, or in this case the apartment complex, are made from recycled products it would be cheaper.

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