Glutten, of environmental harm of GREEN greed…

Posted on May 2, 2008. Filed under: greenwashing |

“Record greenwashing is leaving reluctant customers with an excuse to do nothing…”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard “media” and Hollywood cast ethanol and hydrogen as the fuels to save us for the last three years, it would still not be enough to buy the “carbon offsets” to save their souls for the consequences it has created…

The guardian points out the how  the obvious media GREEN blitz for cash has led to lack of consumer confidence in environmental issues and increased complaints on corporate “GreenGreed”  (linked here)

The annual report from the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) shows that in 2007, complaints about environmental claims, compared with the year before are more than fourfold increase.

The ASA has already censured several high-profile companies including Suzuki, Shell, Ryanair and Toyota for the practice of “greenwash” – where companies are found to have misled consumers on their environmental practices as a business or of the particular benefits of a product or service.

Futerra says that increasing incidences of greenwash are a problem for both consumers and those businesses with genuine environmental aspirations. Its guide says that if it is easy for businesses to make false or misleading environmental claims and benefit from sales to “green consumers” then there are fewer incentives for businesses to make real steps to improve their environmental performance.

Solitaire Townsend, chief executive of Futerra, said: “Greenwash isn’t simply annoying; it’s dangerous. Well meaning people who want to buy ‘green’ are getting confused and disheartened. During a time of economic belt-tightening if green products and services are to survive; then people have to trust them.”

Concerns were also expressed that “greenwash can provide confused or reluctant customers with an excuse to do nothing”.

Futerra’s 10 signs of Greenwash
1. Fluffy language – Words or terms with no clear meaning, e.g. “ecofriendly”.
2. Green products v dirty company  – Such as efficient light bulbs made in a factory which pollutes rivers.
3. Suggestive pictures – Green images that indicate an (unjustified) green impact eg flowers blooming from exhaust pipes.
4. Irrelevant claims – Emphasising one tiny green attribute when everything else is “ungreen”.
5. Best in a bad class? – Declaring you are slightly greener than the rest, even if the rest are pretty terrible.
6. When it’s just not credible – “Ecofriendly” cigarettes anyone? “Greening” a dangerous product doesn’t make it safe.
7. Gobbledygook – Jargon and information that only a scientist could check or understand.
8. Imaginary friends – A “label” that looks like third party endorsement … except it is made up by the company itself.
9. No proof  – It could be right, but where’s the evidence?
10. Outright lying – Totally fabricated claims or data.


The best of the week was “The Ultimate Greenwashing: Barbie Goes Green” press release about a “green” Mattel collection of accessories called Barbie B. Mattel’s new “playful and on-trend” collection of hats and bags for young girls released to pip out doll “just in time to celebrate Earth Day in style.”



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