Throughout class, we discussed the topic of greenwashing, which is when advertisements and corporations falsely promote environmental improvements. In other words, greenwashing is a marketing tactic where companies actual damage the environment with their misleading claims when selling their product. Greenwashing is very disadvantageous towards consumers and the overall environment. Many people are unaware that common products that claim they are environmentally friendly are actually dangerous and harmful. A Canadian based marketing company, called TerraChoice, reports the practice of greenwashing and its negative affect on consumers and the environment. TerraChoice does this by providing seven specific sins of the acts of greenwashing. These sins often include hidden trade-offs, no proof, vagueness, false labels, irrelevance, impact of greater category, and fibbing.
“The Top 25 Greenwashed Products in America” posted by Drea, specifically addresses 25 products that are most prone to greenwashing consumers. The top five from least to most greenwashed products included gas, soft drinks, bottled water, clothes, and coal. BP gas changed their name from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum and claims that they develop clean energy and try to represent a environmentally friendly and responsible through a logo of a green flower. Furthermore, soft drinks such as Coca Cola have greenwashed its consumers by selling green colored instead of red to highlight how they conserve water. Where in reality, many soda companies use immense amounts of water “In 2006, Coca-Cola and its bottlers used 80 billion gallons (290 billion liters) of water to produce beverages — equivalent to one-fifth of the daily water usage of the U.S.” (Drea). Bottled water such as Fiji claims that their product is fresh and safe, however, the plastic within the bottle is made from Chinese diesel-powered plants. Moreover, clothes companies such as Banana Republic promoted being green by using a reusable bag to get 10% off purchases. However, these reusable bags are made out of cotton that requires many pesticides to produce. Lastly, the most greenwashed product is “clean coal,” where they claim it is a sustainable clean energy source. Burning coal releases loads of carbon dioxide into the air and creates pollution. It is important to know what products you buy and how greenwashing is a significant issue. Discussing the topic of greenwashing has helped me learn the ways of how commonly purchased products mislead consumers. Sometimes I buy products that claim they are environmentally friendly because I want to help and improve the environment. However, I have learned that many products such as soda products, water bottles, and hair products can be hazardous to our health. In order to live a healthier lifestyle, greenwashing should be more addressed so people are aware of how products can have many misleading claims that can harm health and the environment.
Drea. “The Top 25 Greenwashed Products in America.” Business Pundit. Aven Enterprises LLC, 02 Mar. 2010. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.