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The Cover Up

Ashleigh Shannon

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

There are Seven Sins of advertisement form companies: Sin of Vagueness, Sin of Irrelevance, Sin of Hidden Trade-off, Sin of Lesser of the Two Evils, Sin of Fibbing, Sin of No Proof, and lastly the Sin of Worshiping False Labels. Greenwashing is most common in three household categories: Kids (toys and baby products), Cosmetics (beauty and health), and Cleaning Products.
From the sinsofgreenwashing.org site, they provide their study of their case in 2009, which unravels the false pretenses of how companies reel in their consumers to make them believe, that they are, in fact, doing the right thing for the environment.
Here’s a excerpt out of their executive summary;

More products are making environmental claims. The total number of ‘green’ products increased by an average of 79% (a range between 40% and 176%) in stores that were visited in both 2007 and 2008. (In a related TerraChoice study, the rate of green advertising was found to have almost tripled since 2006.)Greenwashing is still rampant, with more than 98% of ‘green’ products committing at least one of the Sins. Compared to the 2007 study, there appears to be a small decline in the frequency of greenwashing, but it is not statistically significant. Of 2,219 products making green claims in the United States and Canada, only 25 products were found to be Sin-free.
Eco-labeling is on the rise. Legitimate eco-labeling is nearly twice as common as it was last year, increasing from 13.7% to 23.4% on all ‘green’ products in the report. Kids (toys and baby products), cosmetics and cleaning products are three categories in which green claims – and greenwashing – are most common. These products, among the most common products in most households, deserve particular scrutiny from consumers. Greenwashing is an international challenge, with very similar patterns in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The most significant differences between these countries are the environmental issues associated with the claims made on products. Water conservation was more common in Australia for example, and recyclability in the United States.

So I propose a question, If there’s a false sense of hope being put into the world by our naive mindsets, are WE willing to change it to actually make a GREEN world?