|Greenwashing: The Eco-Frenemy|
|Written by Danielle Salley, Four Green Steps|
|Monday, 24 October 2011 19:00|
Written by Danielle Salley, Four Green Steps
Truth be told, today’s marketing schemes are typically worded to benefit the company in question, and rarely to benefit the environment. Then why do their products pretend to be something they’re not? We all know the answer: to sell! It is not surprising that companies are attempting to push the green buttons to distinguish their products over others, particularly since ‘going green’ is the new trend. Consumers are more willing to buy a product with a green label on the front, even without substantiated green evidence, because it’s easier on all of our consciences. Take a household product for example: a cleaning detergent that says ‘environmentally friendly’ or ‘ecosmart’ would likely be purchased over another standard detergent. So how can we determine if we are being ‘greenwashed’?
For starters, the National Advertising Division (NAD), part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, is a self-governing entity that has established guidelines to help discern which environmental claims are true of false. NAD reviews the “truthfulness and accuracy in marketing claims”, which has become increasingly difficult to monitor with the rise of the Information Age.
Furthermore, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “has developed guidelines for advertisers to ensure that their environmental marketing claims do not mislead consumers.” The FTC provides tips to aid consumers to analyze products’ green claims. For one, ensure claims “give some substance to the claim”—as in WHY it is ‘environmentally safe’.
Here are just a few green advertising assessments according to the FTC:
These are only a few examples of deceptive advertising language used to attract consumers to certain products. Next time, use your environmental awareness and ‘do-good’ attitude in a more critical light when at the store. Don’t be fooled by green colored labels and logos, make sure these claims are relevant!
To read more FTC guidelines: www.ftc.gov/
Image courtesy of Creative Commons.
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