Are You Being Green or Greenwashed?
Monday Jun 05th, 2017
Confused by green marketing and labels? You're not alone. What, exactly, does green mean?
Green in general refers to the adoption of environmental management practices and products intended to minimize the damaging impact on the environment from resource depletion and pollution.
Green does not refer to healthy living, like doing yoga. Green refers to how you get to the yoga studio (ie. in your gas guzzler or your electric car... assuming your electric car was manufactured and delivered using green methods).
Many products call themselves green based on nuance, while others go all-out to green-up. In fact, there is no oversight of what green means, and no standard by which a consumer can judge if a product is truly green.
"Greenwashing" refers to excessive claims about the process or product beyond authentic environmental benefits. Greenwashing is rampant these days, and it’s up to the consumer to decide if it's important enough to them to evaluate the manufacturing chain to determine if the product is truly green.
Kitchen cleansers are a good example. Many cleansers are labelled green, because the chemicals applied to your counters are "natural" (lemon juice). But the product might well have been manufactured, bottled in plastic, and delivered through the same high-polluting process that has been used for decades.
Should we stop caring about green? Not at all. The "green movement" serves us, if for no other reason than to help each of us think green, and adjust our own practices and expectations to be better conservators of our environment.
Eventually green standards will be developed, giving consumers a measure by which to judge products that call themselves green.