Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a term merging the concepts of “green” (environmentally sound) and “whitewashing” (to conceal or gloss over wrongdoing). Greenwashing is any form of marketing or public relations that links a corporate, political, religious or nonprofit organization to a positive association with environmental issues for an unsustainable product, service, or practice.

In some cases, an organization may truly offer a “green” product, service or practice. However, through marketing and public relations, one is wrongly led to believe this “green” value system is ubiquitous throughout the entire organization.

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How Green Businesses Can Avoid Misleading Consumers

When companies make claims about their environmentally friendly practices that aren’t backed by facts or that are downright false, their credibility takes a…
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U.K. Standards Group Calls Out Peabody Energy for Misleading ‘Clean Coal’ Claim

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority ruled, in a case brought by the World Wildlife Fund, that Peabody Energy should not use the term…
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How to Fight Greenwashing: The Value of Third-Party Certification in Green Building

Greenwashing, or vague environmental claims, are rampant in the marketplace, especially in green building. Third-party certification of claims can add credibility to claims,…
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Is There a Sustainable Big Mac in Your Future?

Giant corporations like McDonald's and Walmart cast a long shadow across the planet with the enormous amount of resources that they utilize, process,…
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FTC Green Guides Report Helps Marketers Avoid the Pitfalls of Greenwashing

"Greenwashing" sows distrust among consumers and keeps green products from reaching their full potential. A new report helps marketers avoid those pitfalls.
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Walking the Tightrope: How to Avoid Green Marketing Nightmares

Promoting the environmental or sustainability improvements of a product or service can be a tricky high-wire act that can give marketing professionals nightmares.…
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More Brands Dump Sustainable Forest Initiative’s Paper Certification Program

On Wednesday, ForestEthics announced more major brands have moved away from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) paper products certification program.
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Behind Coca-Cola’s New Anti-Obesity Campaign

Coca-Cola's new campaign to fight obesity rings hollow. The company tries to promote the idea that all calories are the same, so drinking…
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Bitter Fruit: Dole Sued for Greenwashing Guatemalan Banana Operations

A Seattle-based law firm has filed suit against Dole Food Company for making proclamations about corporate responsibility while sourcing bananas from an environmentally…
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How Should a Responsible Company Use the “Natural” Label?

What does “natural” mean? The nature of this notoriously vague label is once again reaching the courts, this time in a lawsuit filed…
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A New Campaign Claims Paperless Billing is Not That Green

While a new campaign initiated by Two Sides, an organization representing members of the "graphic communications value chain," wants to educate companies in…
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Coal Industry Bribes “Activists” with T-Shirts and Lunch to Fight the EPA

a Chicago-based environmental group sent out a tweet over the rumor of a pay-to-protest ad that was posted on Craigslist by an alleged…
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It’s Biodegradable! Or is it? How to Distinguish the Green from the Greenwash: Part II

One can categorize ecolabels in a number of ways: who issues them, whether they apply to the entire company or just specific products,…

How to Distinguish the Green from the Greenwash

I walked into the pet store and asked for biodegradable poop bags, and the clerk pointed me to some bags hanging in a…
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10 Ways Walmart is Failing on Sustainability: Can It Improve?

To help people better evaluate Walmart’s claims of being a green leader, Food & Water Watch and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance have…