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Under the heading “Green Lies” in the latest bulletin from Greenpeace, the organization states:

“These days, green is the new black. Corporations are falling all over themselves to demonstrate to current and potential customers that they are not only ecologically conscious, but also environmentally correct…” The article continues: “As companies increasingly seek to go green, or at least be seen as green, consumers, policymakers and journalists must be able to look beneath this green veneer, and hold corporations accountable for the impacts their core business decisions and investments are having on our planet.”

Green peace defines the term “green-wash” as “Used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.” It lists four ways that companies can employ green-washing techniques:

  1. Dirty Business
    Touting an environmental program or product, while the corporation’s product or core business is inherently polluting or unsustainable.
  2. Ad Bluster
    Using targeted advertising and public relations campaigns to exaggerate an environmental achievement in order to divert attention away from environmental problems or if it spends more money advertising an environmental achievement than actually doing it.
  3. Political Spin
    Advertising or speaking about corporate “green” commitments while lobbying against pending or current environmental laws and regulations.
  4. It’s the Law, Stupid!
    Advertising or branding a product with environmental achievements that are already required or mandated by existing laws.

At Greenpeace lists a few organizations it believes are marketing green without being green. We can think of more, including Toyota, which lobbies behind the scenes to reduce legislation for improved fuel economy in vehicles at the same time it enjoys huge success with the eco-friendly Prius. Source:

Greenpeace encourages site visitors to report green-washing offenders. For more on this environmental non-profit, visit their main website.

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