Tag - greenwashing

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When is a “Green” Truth not Actually a Truth at All?
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Flame Retardant Soup
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Greenwashing, Mattresses and Rutabagas

When is a “Green” Truth not Actually a Truth at All?

Given the meteoric increase in the market for green products in virtually every industry, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is increasingly examining eco claims for truthfulness. While browsing online or even down a store aisle shows me “greenwashing” is alive and well, some recent settlements between companies and the FTC do demonstrate that companies are gradually being held to a higher level of truth. One interesting guideline issued by the FTC as part of the commission’s Revised Green Guides is the Overstatement of Environmental Attribute. According to the guideline, “an environmental marketing claim should not overstate, directly or by implication, an environmental attribute or benefit. Marketers should not state or imply environmental benefits if the benefits are negligible.” While this may seem an obvious guideline, the rule goes beyond technical truth into implied truth. Look at the example the FTC provides on its website: Example 1: An area rug is labeled “50% more recycled content than before.” The manufacturer increased the[…]

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Flame Retardant Soup

Do you like soup? I do. You can put all kinds of vegetable and spices into soup. When I make soup my kids ask, “What’s in it?” to find out if I’ve added a veggie they’ve identified as one they don’t want.  My youngest has dug in his heels against broccoli and the older one against mushrooms. They ask because they can’t tell if the offending food is in there.  Do I always tell? No. I sometimes sneak those veggies past them. Not too many parents will fault me for my sneakiness. If, however, I was intentionally sneaking really, really unhealthy, even dangerous, ingredients in that soup, opinions would be different. Synthetic fibers are in one way a lot like soup. A manufacturer can put all types of different ingredients in there and the consumer is probably not going to know. Take polyester. There are different formulations for polyester just like there are different ways to make vegetable soup. When[…]

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Greenwashing, Mattresses and Rutabagas

Consumers are hit with “green” claims everywhere.  An organic rutabaga, or a cup of Costa Rican coffee supporting sustainable business practices, or a “natural” face lotion, or a green … fill in the blank. Sometimes the message is sincere.  That rutabaga may have been grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Sometimes, not.  That “natural” face lotion may be made with synthetics and chemical additives. To be organic, sustainable, green or eco-friendly in any industry (and those labels mean very, very different things to different people) takes commitment, veracity, diligence, and more commitment.  If a company isn’t committed, they may find it easier to market themselves with words to convince you they are “green” (when they really aren’t). Greenwashing, or marketing a product as natural or green when it isn’t, is bothersome to legitimate businesses like ours. Companies, though, have always tried to take sneaky shortcuts. For consumers, however, greenwashing is confusing, obnoxious and frankly unfair. We want to help you better[…]

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