7 Sins of Greenwashing

15 Dec

With the rise of the global environmental movement, citizens (=consumers) need to be responsible consumers. The seven sins of greenwashing, developed by TerraChoice has the purpose of “maintaining the pressure for truth and clarity in environmental marketing”.

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

Risks of greenwashing (by TerraChoice):

If more greenwashing means that marketers are increasingly responding to the demand for sustainable products, this could be a positive trend. If left unchecked, greenwashing creates significant risks:

  • Well-intentioned consumers will be misled into purchases that do not deliver on their environmental promise. When this happens, the consumer’s trust is misplaced and the potential environmental benefit of his or her purchase is wasted
  • Competitive pressure from illegitimate environmental claims will take market share away from products that offer legitimate benefits, thereby slowing the spread of real environmental innovation in the marketplace
  • Greenwashing will lead to cynicism and doubt about all environmental claims. Consumers will give up on marketers and manufacturers, and give up on the hope that their spending might be put to good use
  • The sustainability movement will lose the power of the market to accelerate progress towards

Resources on green purchasing:

Responsible Puchasing Network: http://www.responsiblepurchasing.org
My Big Green Purse: http://www.biggreenpurse.com
Ecoholic: http://www.ecoholic.ca
Green Your: http://www.greenyour.com
Treehugger: http://www.treehugger.com
The Daily Green: http://www.thedailygreen.com
Sustainability Purchasing Network: http://www.buysmartbc.com


2 Responses to “7 Sins of Greenwashing”

  1. Chris December 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    So true.
    Creditability is important, but then knowing what the rules that define some of the green designations need context and appreciation.

  2. anon January 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    How are people supposed to be able to identify greenwashing when they dont even understand what ‘green’ is

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