Greenwashing Earth Day


Green-wash – verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. – TerraChoice

Earth Day seems to have brought out the green in everyone, especially businesses. Wherever we turn, we are being bombarded by advertisements and articles telling us about green services, products and specials. Everyone from Treehugger to Huffington Post and CNN are talking about things you can do today (and this month) – and Grist is even cheeky enough to say Screw It. Green is everywhere, but unfortunately, so is greenwash.

But as we all know, not all companies are completely honest with their green claims. Some, it seems, are quite happy to talk the talk but not walk the walk.

But how do we, as consumers, know whether they are greenwashing or not?

Whenever I’m not sure, I turn to TerraChoice, an environmental marketing company, who, based on research and surveys, created a Seven Sins of Greenwashing guide that helps determine green fact from fiction. (We’ve previously covered greenwashing, if you want to learn more.) It’s a helpful resource to keep in mind at any time of year, not just Earth Day.

Read the full 2009 Seven Sins of Greenwashing Report to learn more about these commonly practiced sins and how to recognize them.

Image: macrophile