Greenwashing has a lot in common with both brainwashing and whitewashing in that you are convinced to believe something that is not true with the use of tiny white lies about “green” products. Greenwashing was a term coined by environmentalist Jay Westerfeld and used to describe a company or organization that claims to be green but does not implement business practices that damage the environment.
According to an article in Business News Daily, Greenwashing first came about in the mid-1980s when oil company Chevron commissioned a series of pricy print and television ads to broadcast its dedication to the environment but in the meantime, the company was violating the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and spilling oil in wildlife refuges. Since then, many companies that have adopted a green platform have turned out to be the largest corporate polluters in the U.S.. Many large chain stores, water bottling companies, and chemical corporations have since been called out about greenwashing by the press.
Aside from outright claims, there has also been quite a bit of subliminal seduction going on that is meant to seduce you into thinking that you are buying a product that is part of a green movement when you are not.
10 Basic Rules for Avoiding Greenwashing
These ten rules are courtesy of Futerra’s 2015 Sustainability Report.
To avoid being “greenwashed” watch out for the following techniques –
- The fluffy language that indicates words or terms with a vague meaning such as “eco-approved”, “eco-friendly” or “environmentally friendly”
- The use of the term “recyclable” which is not impressive as most things are recyclable these days
- The use of the term “biodegradable”, which is not applicable as most materials are biodegradable nowadays
- The use of the words cruelty-free which is not legally defined and anyone can claim it on a product label
- The use of the word non-toxic which has no legal definition and can still be used on products that contain potentially dangerous chemicals
- Pictures and labeling that indicate nature, that has nothing to do with the product such as flowers, mountains, running streams
- An overfocus on one green attribute of the product and ignoring several other attributes that are toxic or polluting
- Statements that are not credible such as “Eco-friendly fracking” or “Healthy natural cigarettes.”
- Backed up by scientific proof that is too hard to read
- Fake testimonials and third-party endorsements
- No scientific studies backing up the claim of the product
- Claims of abiding by the law, which for many corporations means doing the absolute bare minimum to prevent pollution
- Obsolete or irrelevant claims sold to you as an impressive development such as claiming that a product is CFC –Free (chlorofluorocarbons) when CFCs have been banned for thirty years!
- Outright lying on the label as in “GMO free corn”, as this does not exist
You might be asking yourself why so many companies, particularly food companies, cleaning product companies and other corporations are so eager to trick you in this way and the answer is that social responsibility is the new buzzword in marketing. However, the increasing pressure on companies is not doing much to convince consumers that a company is trying to protect the environment.
Unfortunately, misleading claims often lead to health problems for those with environmental or food sensitivities, which is why it is more important than ever for you to maintain optimal health at all times.
For more information about the detection and treatment of environmental sensitivities, allergies and safe and wholesome nutrition, or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products or call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about any of the many services that we offer including weight loss, iv vitamin drip therapy, infrared blood analysis, acupuncture, mesotherapy, homeopathy Toronto weight loss, and naturopathic services.