“100% All Natural” Cosmetics

Physicians Formula Organic wear is one such heavily campaigned cosmetic that is allegedly “100% All Natural”. The lofty claims accompanying all of their so called organic products come suspiciously with no identifiable seals of federally regulated certification.  They are not alone. In the makeup isles at nearly every convenience/grocery store and pharmacy is a cosmetics section designated solely for seemingly “natural” makeup products. As it turns out, some of them do contain some natural ingredients (term used loosely), some possibly even organic. But without providing any proof of legitimate certification (and why wouldn’t they?) one can safely assume a certain degree or full blown greenwashing is at play.

Take Physicians Formula, for example: their website claims that their organic line is all of the following (100%!): “100% Free of Harsh Chemicals. 100% Free of Synthetic Preservatives. 100% Free of Parabens. 100% Free of GMO’s. 100% Free of Synthetic Colors. 100% Free of Synthetic Fragrances. 100% Cruelty Free.” Without a single seal of approval to back any of this up, none of these claims are verifiably true. What’s more, on the description page of the same product for which these claims came from it is stated that the products are produced from 80% organic materials. Wait, how can the ingredients be 100% All Natural if they are only 80% organic? You decide.

A list of other un-certified “organic” brands to avoid

“* Avalon “Organics”

* Desert Essence “Organics”

* Earth’s Best “Organic”

* Eminence “Organic” (Except Few w/USDA Seal)

* Giovanni “Organic”

* Goodstuff “Organics”

* Head “Organics”

* Jason “Pure, Natural & Organic”

* Kiss My Face “ObsessivelyOrganic”

* Nature’s Gate “Organics”

* Physicians Formula “Organic” Wear

* Stella McCartney “100% Organic”


-Laura Collins


Not the Babies!

Green washing is now even moving on to parents and babies. Huggies is now making a green diaper. Although the packaging is green, how green is the diaper really? Yes it is organic cotton, and it uses renewable resources to make the diapers. But in order to get the diaper to the pretty white color it is, they must bleach them! The  process is not environmentally friendly, AT ALL. After reading a couple different  I’ve noticed the marketing campaign is making the diaper seem much greener than it actually is. The packaging for the diapers says pure and natural, with leaves all over it. Green washing is huge in our society today, no one reads up on anything. Parents that are living green will look at these and think perfect. But lets look at some facts here: only 20% of the plastic packaging Is from renewable resources, and the diapers are still disposable  they will be thrown away adding more trash to the environment and still taking away more and more resources. There are options such as cloth diapers or all Natural diapers Both are better for the environment than these Huggies diapers. Do the research avoid green washing, and create a better green product environment.


Greenwashing- a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly.

This week I had an interview with the CEO of a international green consulting company. His company is a leader in helping major corportaions like P&G”go green”. During the interview I asked the typical variety of questions. One being what got him into a green/sustainability career field. His response did not surprise me. He felt like it was his duty to do this. He cared about what people were using, how it was effecting them and how it could hurt not only them but also the environment.

The answer to why he was interested in it did not surprise me and I guess the answer to my next question didn’t really either, I guess I just didn’t want to admit it. I always want to think the best in things and I tend to. I asked him what in his opinion was driving the green movement/ why big corporations like P&G were hiring him. He straight out said making a profit. Big corporations know that people are becoming more educated and more interested in being green and because one by one other large corporations are trying to go more green, that means that in order to compete they do to. Big corporations don’t care when new small green companies pop up because they are not competitors , they are worried about the big one.

There are so many companies that like to convince us, or mold up to believe that they are concerned about the environment. That it is there companies goal to be sustainable. It is so important for us as consumers to investigate what we buy and what we think are green products.

Sarah Fretwell


The product I found to do my greenwashing blog post on is called the “t-fal natura frying pan”. It claims to be made up of 100% aluminum, and it is. That claim is true. It also claims that it is free of something called PFOA. This is something commonly used in non-stick materials, and likely a human carcinogen. The actual pan does not contain any, but the company uses it in the manufacturing process. They have received a lot of criticism for this. I found this product on a list of the ’10 worst household products for greenwashing’. I really don’t think it is as bad as it could be though. The claims may be false, but they are closer to true than a lot of other product’s claims. The fact that I’m saying this is a little bit unsettling though. Like, “oh, the claims are false, but they aren’t that false, so it’s okay”. That’s not okay. We’ve almost been conditioned to think it is okay because of how false everything else is.

I do like the product packaging. It isn’t super green or surrounded by leaves or fruits like a lot of other greenwashing products try to do. It’s very straightforward and normal looking. I’ve also seen other pans that claim to be organic and they actual make the pan green. Like bright, bright, neon green. This pan looks normal. I do respect that. It isn’t trying too hard. A lot of products just make me roll my eyes because they try so hard to get their point across. I think I would be more apt to trust something that wasn’t trying that hard. Let the product speak for itself. I’m less about talk and more about action. I would absolutely try this product over other products like it. I trust this one more than others I’ve seen.

-Madison Means  tfal pan

Investigating Greenwashing at Starbucks

Okay, before I begin this post talking about all the potential greenwashing that occurs at Starbucks, let me just say I go either CCM Starbucks or Steger Starbucks almost daily and I hope after my research that Starbucks is as green as they claim.

Throughout Starbucks you see the Environmental Stewardship information everywhere. The pictures all over the walls with the happy coffee bean growers, and the engraving on every table,”RECLAIMED URBAN WOOD”. Communicating about Health, Science and the Environment has made me pretty skeptical about whether or not something is truely “green”. I found the company that Starbucks get their reclaimed urban wood from and it is called “Black’s Farmwood”. Turns out this business is legit, from my online investigating, and their idea is to reuse wood that is found in structures, etc. that would otherwise be burned or trashed. The end goal is to decrease the amount of deforestation by using wood that already exists. Here’s their website, http://blacksfarmwood.com/about/.

I decided to look online at Starbuck’s environmental stewardship actions to see what they actually claim to do, and if they are meeting any of their goals that they are setting for themselves. So this is what I got from their website,

“We reduced our water use by more than 21% over our baseline levels, and are nearing our goal of a 25% savings by 2015. Recycling continues to be a complex and multi-layered issued for us, but we are pleased to be able to offer front-of-store recycling to 67% more locations over the past year. We also expanded our green building program, with LEED-certified stores in 18 countries, and the inclusion of green building strategies in all remodels and new construction.”

Okay, so it sounds like they are making an effort… But like they’ve said recycling is a complex and multi- layered issue… But yeah, it’s better than a landfill. Maybe they should provide more than a 10 cent discount when you use a reusable cup?

So what is all this about “ethically sourced coffee”… I decided to take a look into that. http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/sourcing/coffee

Their coffee is C.A.F.E. certified… Well, what’s that?

“Over the last decade, Conservation International has helped us develop buying guidelines that address our principles for ethical sourcing. Called Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, these guidelines help our farmers grow coffee in a way that’s better for both people and the planet. C.A.F.E.”

So they made the guidelines they follow? Who’s Conservation International?

Their mission is: “Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity.” Sounds good to me..


Overall I’ve decided for now I can trust Starbucks… But I think it remains important for me to continue investigating companies, including Starbucks. I’ve read and researched for about 45 minutes now and I still have questions. It is a lot of work to determine the “greenwashing” of a brand such as Starbucks. I just hope as time continues that an organization that can be trusted can investigate for consumers to aid in creating a “greener” planet.

Gabrielle Russell

Lets go “All Natural”… or Not

Kashi is among many brands under fire for using the vague “All natural” label to manipulate its consumers into thinking their product is “All Natural”.This is a classic example of green washing, because the companies know the consumers’ perception of what this means and uses it to their advantage. Companies like this have also taken advantage of the fact the that the “All Natural” label is not harshly regulated, allowing them more freedom to twist the meaning. Many consumers assume that “all natural” mean no GMOs contained in the product, but according to the Cornucopia Institute’s report, Cereal Crimes, ” many of the products tested were found to contain high amounts of genetically engineered grains—some, including Kashi, containing 100 percent genetically engineered grains” and also “One Kashi® product in particular, GoLean® Shakes, is composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients, according to the plaintiff “. This is beyond ridiculous! Once consumers found this out, they blew up Kellogg’s phone lines to a point that Kellogg stopped answering calls. Kellogg later tried to back backpedal and say GMOs were not intentionally used because since most things were GMO it could have accidentally been put in production. This is a very weak defense in my opinion, especially with the large quantity of GMOs found in their product. I also think it’s rather interesting that Kashi doesn’t promote that it is owned by Kellogg.

It’s almost hard to trust any food item. In the “healthy aisle at kroger, there are so many products that claim to be be “All Natural” and “Made with natural ingredients” and it makes you wonder, what products are actually what they say they are. One of the main goals of a business is to make make money. So how can we trust they to do what’s right over what can make them money? There needs to be more strict regulation especially on popular labels such as “All natural”.

Dawn dishwashing soap

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 1.09.07 PM

Dawn dishwashing soap has been running the same campaign for years, all about how they help save wildlife. In their most famous commercial they show their product being used to wash baby ducks and penguins covered in oil from oil spills. And then at the end of the commercial they talk about how much money they are donating to save wildlife. According to the add above, for every bottle you buy a dollar gets donated to wildlife. When you watch the commercial and pay attention to all their advertising dawn comes across as some sort of philanthropic hero and savior of animals and the environment. When in reality quite the opposite is true. First of all Dawn is owned by the company Procter & Gamble which is notorious for their contribution to deforestation in places like Indonesia for palm oil. Second of all Dawn uses triclosan in their dish soap. Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that is known to be toxic to aquatic life, and since it is a cleaning agent it ends up getting washed down the drain and into rivers and streams. It is a chemical environmentalists are wanting to be banned, but companies like P&G won’t comply. So basically Dawn dish soap is greenwashing with the lesser of two evils sin. They use the fact that they donate a very small portion of their profits to wildlife to cover up the horrible chemicals they are releasing into the environment. And the majority of people only recognize the good side of Dawn, and are completely unaware of whats really going on behind the scenes. Images of furry animals that people love constantly mixed in with images of Dawn does exactly what the company wants it to, which is associate Dawn with being green in peoples minds. Unfortunately in Dawn’s case, their greenwashing tactics have worked perfectly.

Natalia Tooley