Have you ever wondered about those food commercials touting their products as healthy and “all natural”, when if you read the ingredients you would find chemical additives and food coloring? What about the commercials for big oil companies or the auto industry talking about reducing emissions and clean air? Or natural lawn care products which require a caution sign after treatments? Can you trust hair product commercials claiming to be organic? What do these companies mean by “natural” and “organic”? Deceptive ads are a form of greenwashing. With everyone jumping on the green bandwagon these days, what really is “green” can be confusing.
According to Greenpeace, greenwashing “describes the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.” TerraChoice, an environmental marketing company, conducted a study, which found that almost all of the environmental claims made for consumer products are false or misleading.
So, how does a concerned consumer know what to buy? How do you know which products are truly green, which are manufactured in an environmentally safer way, which companies are genuinely committed to lowering their carbon footprint? Unfortunately we can’t just rely on the FDA or the EPA, whose interests are often influenced by lobbying and special interest groups. You have to get informed through watchdog organizations like www.corpwatch.org, safecosmetics.org, stopgreenwash.org, environmental working group, organic consumers association and many others. In my blog, I sift through the onslaught of information and answer many of these questions. But you must also read labels and consumer reports and let companies know when they are greenwashing. Corporations are key in helping solve today’s environmental problems, but they must make real changes and be above board in their claims.
Knowledge is power and by doing a little homework, you can successfully decipher which products are truly better for you and the earth.
Some information compiled from stopgreenwash.org and terrachoice.com