Should We Be Condemning Greenwashing- Or Assume It Is Just Ignorance?

  • Jun 17, 2011

In the past few weeks, I have read over a dozen articles and blogs condemning the act of greenwashing.

It seems that “the left” has declared war on the evils of greenwashing– but has forgotten about the virtues of going green itself.

Is greenwashing really a sin?

Can we really even recognize greenwashing?

Is the term “greenwashing” over used and over-hyped?

Sure, there are still too many companies that deliberately exaggerate – or even lie – about the green virtues of their product. They may claim that their product is made from 40% recycled, post-consumer plastic, for example, without using any recycled materials at all.

Greenwashing. No–that would be outright fraud…and should be condemned. This is preying on the unknowing.

I am not advocating greenwashing, at all. That is certainly not the idea of this blog post.

Instead, I am talking about companies that are actively pursuing policies to “go green” — yet don’t meet the “absolutely green” purity test.

I would argue that there is no product that can be truly green, so people need to expect a little over-exuberance in marketing a legitimately green product.

Most greenwashing claims are from exaggeration, not fraud.

Does that make it right? No. And it should be toned down, and claims should be presented more accurately.

I posed a question on LinkedIn a few weeks asking if a product can be 100% Green–and nobody was able to find one that could be able to be made available for public consumption.

Sure, there were a few answers, such as “getting milk from a cow” or growing your own fruits and vegetables. However, if you took those products across town in a truck, then it no longer would be considered 100% green.

  • Category: greenwashing
  • Tags: eco marketing, ecomarketing, green marketing, green washing, greenwashing, greenwashing claims are exaggerated, how to avoid greenwashing, Jacquelyn Ottman, preventing greenwashing, The New Rules of G