Greenwashing is practically a swear word in the eco-community. I’m sure you know what this term means by now, but here’s one anyway, just in case. According to whatis.com
Greenwashing is the practice involving a company making itself appear to be more environmentally conscious than it actually is, making eco-friendly claims about products or business practices and then not backing them up. It’s not enough for a company to have ‘green intentions’—if they don’t back up their claims with tried-and-true results they’re ultimately going to be accused of greenwashing. And the larger and more established the company, the greater the scrutiny and backlash will likely be. Due to the well-populated blogosphere, consumers are becoming well-educated on the process of greenwashing and are becoming aware of which eco-claims are accurate and which are unsubstantiated.
Here’s a great article from Green Biz about the growing consumer awareness of greenwashing.
So how did eco-friendly enter the mainstream? Because of big names promoting it (think Al Gore) and big businesses recognizing it (think Clorox and Wal-Mart). Companies of all sizes are starting to realize that ‘going green’ and putting forth eco-friendly claims (substantiated or otherwise) will improve their bottom line. But it’s not just about thinking green. Companies have to have a consistency to their message, to back up their claims and take responsibility for their actions.
Eco geek raises some interesting points about greenwashing in his blog basically saying that greenwashing is preferable than taking no environmental action at all. We are all responsible for doing at least that—if not a lot more.
For goodness sake people, we want the air we breathe, the consumer goods we interact with and the food we eat to be good for us, not terrible for us. It really is that simple. This is not about being an evangelist. It’s about being simply smart. About learning the basics. Our site contains a few additional tips we hope are helpful to you.