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Greenwashing: Knowing is Half the Battle

by Adam Neugebauer
May/June 2011
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/greenwashing-knowing-is-half-the-battle/5019990/

The growing interest in ‘green’ products in recent years has been met stride-for-stride with marketing campaigns attempting to tap into that trend. This once-niche sector was finally becoming mainstream and the market scrambled to meet that demand. Companies and organizations took steps to make themselves and their products and services more eco-friendly or to identify ways in which they were already ‘green.’And then these credentials were marketed and promoted.

But awareness and understanding (of both consumers AND ‘producers’) could not keep up with the rapid growth of this market. And these grey areas are the perfect breeding ground for
greenwashing " “the act of a company or organization making misleading or unsubstantiated claims (intentionally or unintentionally) regarding the environmental benefits of its products, services, or policies” " a definition I cobbled together from various Internet sources.
In some cases it is the unintended but practically inevitable consequence of consumers not understanding what they are asking for (“I want an eco-friendly play space, whatever that means!”) and companies not knowing what they are trying to market (“We’re a friend of the environment, whatever that means!”). In other cases it is more intentional and malicious: “Why bother reformulating our product to remove harsh chemicals when ...

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