The Six Sins of Greenwashing
- BAD TRADE-OFFS
In other words, you can claim something is green in one way - i.e. more energy efficient - but you neglect to mention that achieving this creates an offsetting sacrifice somewhere else, such as increased toxic materials. TerraChoice found that 57 per cent of products committed this sin.
- ZERO PROOF.
A claim of being "green" is not backed up with any kind of proof or certification to verify it. It was found that 26 per cent of products committed this sin.
Emphasizing one characteristic of a product that makes it appear green - i.e. it's all-natural - but neglecting to point out that it's still not good for the environment. It was found that 11 per cent committed this sin.
A product claiming to be green when this aspect of the product does not distinguish it in the marketplace. For example, biodegradable coffee filters. This was seen in 4 per cent of products.
- FLAT OUT LYING.
I think this speaks for itself, but an example would be a company claiming to be certified organic or rated Energy Star when in fact it's not. Fortunately less than 1 per cent committed this sin.
- LESSER THAN TWO EVILS.
That is, "evil" products like cigarettes, leaf blowers, Hummers, and bottled water that are given a green tweak to justify green marketing campaigns - i.e. organic cigarettes, electric leaf blowers, hybrid Hummers and biodegradable plastic bottles.