Eco-Vocab: Greenwashing

Greenwashing:

A superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is usually shown through the marketing of a consumer good. The term is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green, (operating with consideration for the environment) than spending resources on actual environmentally sound practices.

Know Your Labels! Is It Green or Greenwashing?

There are plenty of products on the market that are eco-friendly – or at least claim to be. A product can attach the word ‘green’ or ‘natural’ to its label in order to lure in eco-conscious consumers without actually being all that earth-friendly. That sneaky marketing scheme is known as greenwashing. The term is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green, (operating with consideration for the environment) than spending resources on actual environmentally sound practices.

Unfortunately, there is very little regulation around products that claim to be green but aren’t. However, there are certain labels, applied by third parties such as nonprofits or government agencies that can help us detect which products are actually sincere in their claims to be sustainable.

According to Triple Pundit, the following eco-labels seem to be the most trustworthy by consumers:

Government: USDA Organic and Energy Star are government issued labels that require adherence to very specific standards, carry hefty fines for misuse, and require certification and testing of operations and products by an accredited certification agent. Other government issued labels include: the Green Vehicle Guide, Design for Environment, and WaterSense programs from the EPA, the USDA BioPreferred program, and the Canadian EcoLogo programs. Continue reading