The business of greenwashing equals more profits

With the growing concern, right or wrongly, about climate change and the need to consider more environmentally friendly products when buy both everyday products and our tech toys has become a major factor. As more and more people start looking for these alternatives companies are rushing forward with claims about how green their products are and how they are going to improve in the future. The problem is that a large percentage of these claims are pure bullshit.

For those of you not familiar with the term greenwashing it means, according to Wikipedia

Greenwash (a portmanteau of green and whitewash) is a term used to describe the practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly, such as by presenting cost cuts as reductions in use of resources. It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.

It turns out according to a new study by Canadian TerraChoice, who run the Canadian government’s eco-labeling program, that only 2% of products labeling themselves as green are completely legit. The remaining 98% of products range from questionable to borderline lying.

In the United States and Canada, a total of 2,219 products making 4,996 green claims were recorded. These claims were tested against best practices, notably against guidelines provided by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Competition Bureau of Canada, Australian Competition Consumer Commission, and the ISO 14021 standard for environmental labeling.

Of the 2,219 North American products surveyed, over 98% committed at least one of the previously identified Six Sins of Greenwashing and a new Seventh Sin emerged.

Source: The Seven Sins of Greenwashing – TerraChoice [hi-rez PDF] [low-rez PDF]

Gee who would have thought – companies spewing out cool buzzwords that are nothing more than lies in order to make even more money for the same old products.

As far as our tech toys are concerned the TerraChoice study didn’t have much to say as they concentrated mostly on household and children’s goods. If you accept that Greenpeace has an agenda with anything they do you will find that they do have a good report on computer companies and their green efforts, which they put out yearly.

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