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Beware Greenwashers: Green is Not the New Black!

Posted By Jessie Lucier On February 26, 2010 @ 4:09 pm In Green Living | 1 Comment

[1]It’s not easy buying green [2], especially since green has been touted as the new black.  Like the “black” of a previous generation, today’s “green” is considered sexy, trendy and it looks good on everyone. And while the branding of green has led to an increased environmental and ecological awareness, which has oftentimes proved beneficial for our planet and her people, the increased awareness has also created a muddled perspective of what really constitutes green. The public relations whiz kids of the corporate world have jumped on the green wagon and, wa-la, companies with questionable environmental practices and policies have been spun from black to green.

In short, they’ve “greenwashed” their corporate image.  Greenwashing [3], according to Greenpeace [4], is the cynical use of environmental themes to whitewash corporate misbehavior.

Accordingly, it’s become increasingly difficult for consumers genuinely committed to using their dollars to support eco-friendly corporate and manufacturing practices to differentiate between the good green guys and those companies simply touting a green message. And, while there are certainly a good number of big businesses who are sincerely dedicated to environmental protection, the greenwashers of the corporate world are spending millions of dollars on elaborate advertising campaigns to brand themselves green.  Furthermore, many of these “green” companies have been forced by the courts to clean up their bad environmental behavior.  Their court ordered cleanups are then cleverly spun to the public as green good-doing.

So, what’s an eco-conscious consumer to do?

Today:

Visit Greenpeace’s Web site for tips on how to spot a corporate greenwasher. [5] But, don’t stop there.  A simple Google search is oftentimes enough to get the skinny on some of the suspect greenwashing companies.

This month:

As spring approaches, maybe it’s time to clean out more than just your closets.  While spring cleaning, take inventory of the products that you commonly use.  Read labels, look at where the product is manufactured, get clear on where and how these products are produced or extracted.

This year:

Continue to educate yourself about the companies that you most often consume products from and discontinue using your dollar to support companies that employ questionable environmental and social practices.  When in doubt, rather than err on the side of the corporate giants, try to buy products locally produced [6] or certified as organic [7] or free trade [8].


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URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/beware-greenwashers-green-is-not-the-new-black/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/green-not-black_optimized.jpg

[2] buying green: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/7-Surprising-Ways-to-Go-Greener-this-Earth-Day.html

[3] Greenwashing: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/5-Best-Ways-to-Avoid-Getting-Greenwashed.html

[4] Greenpeace: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/

[5] how to spot a corporate greenwasher.: http://stopgreenwash.org/criteria

[6] products locally produced: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Experts-Say-Eat-Local-for-Health-Planet-and-Wallet.html

[7] organic: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/How-to-Be-Organic-on-a-Budget.html

[8] free trade: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/FairTradeWhatagift.html

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