Have You Been Greenwashed by Corporate Labelling?

-By Paul A Philips

Corporations know that consumers are becoming more and more environmentally aware, taking active responsibility. However, instead of giving us a wider choice of environmentally friendly products promoting eco-friendliness and sustainability they have become more deceptive with their labelling, making it difficult to chose a genuine all-green product.

In effect consumers have been 'greenwashed.' -A new dictionary term used to describe how consumers have been deceived into buying not so environmentally friendly products through deceptive labelling.

Disinformation, loose terms, broad definitions and standards have allowed products to be unjustly labelled as '100% green' or 'all-natural...' which can happen with just about any product we consume.

There couldn't be a better example of greenwashing than the marketing of 'clean coal.' It emits significant by-product pollutants as in some of the industrial pollution emitted from stacks into the atmosphere! Indeed, the very description 'clean coal' is an oxymoron.

Another one is the hybrid car. Sure hybrid vehicles are a better environmental option but they still produce a significant amount of pollutants in their making and what about the waste products?

Then there's the term 'organic' which could be quite meaningless when labelled as such with some products. It's worth knowing that the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) states that in order for a product to be correctly labelled as organic it has to be at least 95% free of chemicals, artificial additives and suchlike...

The label description 'all natural' is quite meaningless: Nothing has ever been defined on what constitutes 'all natural' nor is there any certification.

Bearing this in mind, a few years ago 'Tested Green' a company that was said to have charged around 500 dollars for producing test certificates was busted by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). This had granted corporations the so-called right to all-green labelling through these worthless certificates when no appropriate testing had ever taken place.

Learning to discern the genuine all-green product

As always discernment is the key when distinguishing the genuine all-green product from the phoney foe-pro option.

Fortunately, there are a number of trustworthy labels. The already mentioned USDA is one for organic certification. Then there's Energy Star which genuinely validates electronics for environmental friendliness. Check out Green Seal for eco-friendliness, they've been around for some time supporting the Earth-conscious movement...

Whether it's concerning the environment or about choosing quality organic food products for optimum nutrition it is hoped that this article has encouraged discernment when looking at product labels. Don't allow yourself to be greenwashed. Make educated informed choices instead.

-Happy shopping!