Greenwashing, a blend of the terms "green" and "whitewashing" is a word used to describe deceptive marketing , or "spin" that is used to promote a misleading perception that a company's policies and/or products are environmentally friendly. TerraChoice, an environmental marketing and consulting firm, are the authors of the Sins of Greenwashing studies, which include: The Six Sins of Greenwashing (2007); The Seven Sins of Greenwashing (2009); and The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition (2010).
In a recent survey, TerraChoice found that there are at least 73% more "green" products on the market today than there were last year. You would think that having such a large number of "green" products available to the public is a great thing. Unfortunately, they also found that more than 95% of these consumer products that were identified as "green" products, were found to be guilty of at least one of the "Sins of Greenwashing" which is HUGE. That means that only 4.5% of the products examined were found to be "sin-free!"
The biggest "sin" of greenwashing is when a company makes a claim without providing any proof. The second-leading problem is "vagueness", which is just as disturbing to me, because it causes confusion for the consumer by making claims, such as, a product is "mother-earth approved."
As a consumer passionate about sustainability, it is very important to be informed about this type of marketing so that we can hold companies guilty of greenwashing accountable. I would like to see the number of products making accurate environmental claims increase from the current 4.5% to 50% within the next year. It can be done, as long as the public is informed and accountability is applied.
Click here for the full list of The Seven Sins of Greenwashing.
For more about greenwashing, visit TerraChoice at: http://sinsofgreenwashing.org/ or watch the below video.