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Greenwashing: Sinner or Saint?

| Friday November 23rd, 2007 | 1 Comment

The Six Sins of GreenwashingIt’s all “green this” or “ all natural that” these days, but according to Scott McDougall, president of TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, chances are it’s all a bunch of hooey.

A 99% chance to be exact.

McDougall’s TerraChoice conducted a study called “The Six Sins of Greenwashing” in which over a thousand common household products were randomly surveyed, taking their green claims and comparing them against the “six sins” most prevalent in marketing greenwash.

Of the 1,753 claims made a total of 99% committed at least one sin.

The sins are spelled out in TerraChoice’s Six Sins of Greenwashing page and include common ploys such the “Hidden Trade-off”  to simply lying through your teeth. A further breakdown of the survey results is available here.

Green is fast becoming the next big buzzword for marketers, and polls show that consumers are willing to pay a premium for it. But if marketers abuse the trend and market bogus claims of green when consumers are genuinely trying to do the right thing, it could fast turn a win-win situation into lose-lose.

This is no time to simply chase a quick buck.


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  • Jacob Malthouse

    As this report notes, ecolabels are a key tool in sorting out the green from the greenwash.
    The goal of the newly launched site ecolabelling.org is to provide a global database of ecolabels that makes it easier for producers and consumers to understand who is deciding what’s green.