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GREENWASHING: WHAT is it and WHY You should care!

I previously wrote about “Cause Marketing” and  Pinkwashing and received a lot of great feedback! I wasn’t surprised that there were quite a few people who didn’t know what Pinkwashing was and how big corporations use cause marketing to manipulate and confuse consumers..

So today I want to introduce you to another strategic marketing term called GREENWASHING, which was coined by environmentalist Jay Westervelt in 1986. His essay was about how the hotel industry places little “info cards” in each of the suite’s restroom’s promoting the reuse of towels to “save the environment.” I’m sure you must have seen one the last time you stayed at a hotel. Anyways, Westervelt noted that in most cases, little or no effort toward reducing waste was being made by the hotels, that in fact  the objective of this “movement” was to increase profit. “Westervelt thus labeled this and other outwardly environmentally conscientious acts with a greater, underlying purpose of profit increase as greenwashing.”




What is greenwashing? It is a misleading and deceptive claim used to promote the perception that a product, service, company policies or technology are environmentally friendly.

The majority of the companies that take part in this deceptive form of marketing, greenwashing, spend significantly more money on advertising they are “green”, than the environmental cause/practice they claim to be “helping.” For example, I read that some of the big companies that participate in “Earth Hour” spend millions of dollars on advertising they are a “Eco-Friendly” company, but they in fact do not have “Eco-Friendly” practices/policies.


Greenwashing also includes changing the name, logo, or label of a product to appear “more natural” even though the product contains harmful chemicals. Yes, it’s totally legal and SHOULDN’T BE, the regulations are next to none for greenwashing.


You should care about greenwashing because it’s harmful to you and the environment! Companies shouldn’t be allowed to mislead us into believing their products are “natural” or “Eco-Friendly” if they really aren’t, SHAME ON THEM! Nothing is going to change unless we voice our opinions and demand they stop greenwashing!



If you spot a product that has been greenwashed you can report it!

Canada: Competition Bureau
USA: FTC


I would love to hear if you had you heard of the term greenwashing before reading this post? Have you spotted any greenwashing??
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36 Comments

  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    No había escuchado este término, por lo que m apareció muy interesante aprender sobre esto.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:21 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    ¡Qué verguenza! Lo comparto. No, no había escuchado el término.

    November 7, 2013 at 3:56 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Ni idea tenía de esta información, muchas gracias

    November 7, 2013 at 6:12 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Wow.. No sabía sobre esto.. Mil gracias por informarnos.

    November 7, 2013 at 6:28 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Ni idea de estas cosas, que bueno que lo compartes!

    November 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Ya habia escuchado sobre esto. Nos tratan de engañar…triste

    November 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Habia escuchado el termino pero no tenia claro a que apuntaba, gracias!

    November 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Muchas graciasSiempre nos compartes muy útil información para tener una vida más natural y abrir los ojos. Cariños!

    ¡FELIZ DÍA!ॐ
    http://mamaholistica.com

    November 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    I am always amazed at how companies will do anything for money and how they have el “descaro” of using whatever they can (like a cause people believe in) just to make more profit. It’s really sad but we all need to be aware of it so we are not duped by these companies that do not care about the environment at all but just about their profits.

    November 9, 2013 at 4:18 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Never heard of this term, and you’re right- it shouldn’t be allowed! Thanks for the headsup and for posting the links to reort offenders.

    November 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    You are totally right! Same thing with products labelled as “organic”. Sometimes it marketers create illusion of a problem as well that never even existed before to the buyer, such as Crest whitening ads that claim that “if you’re not whitening, you’re yellowing”. I get that it’s their job, but it’s also pretty terrible that there’s not much out there trying to stop this type of advertisement.

    November 10, 2013 at 9:32 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    I had no idea about that …

    http://www.fashionjudy.com

    November 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Thanks for this info! i have seen the info. about the towels in many hotels.

    November 11, 2013 at 2:46 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    i practice reading the label, more intently, when a product claims to be environment friendly. I really am for the cause and hate how some companies take advantage of it.

    November 13, 2013 at 1:26 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    I never heard of greenwashing before. Thanks for sharing this post! GIGLOVE

    November 13, 2013 at 2:59 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    never heard of greenwashing before, you give me a lot of new information, thx you so much for sharing this dear. GIGLove, xo

    November 13, 2013 at 8:25 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    it is such an informative post… although i never heard but now i know and nobody can cheat me
    GIGlove

    November 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    oh i didn’t know there is such a way to promote themselve as green product/brand….gig

    November 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    another interesting post i learn so much every time
    gig

    November 15, 2013 at 11:36 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    I didn’t know that this was called Greenwashing but I had noticed this – Interesting blog post, I really enjoyed learning about this! <3 GIGLove

    November 16, 2013 at 7:22 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    You are totally right, there have been many brands claiming they’re eco-friendly or natural and whatnot but they totally are not. One of the things I’ve learned when I became a Mom is always read the label and go over ingredients especially when buying stuff for my little one, so I can defo understand the frustration others may have on this. Thanks for sharing! xx Donah giglove

    November 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    I really think that there should be stricter regulations to prevent both greenwashing and pinkwashing. People shouldn’t have to stand in the grocery store for an extra hour just to make sure they aren’t being taken advantage of. Words like “natural” and “green” mean nothing without the USDA Organic symbol.

    November 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Oh.. This is new to me.. n shocking as well! Isn’t this just plain hypocrisy?! If the amount they spend on promoting the “green” stuff was actually spent on something useful, they wouldn’t even have to promote themselves! Thanks for sharing this! Will definitely be careful in the future! xxx giglove

    November 17, 2013 at 1:20 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Ah I always feel the same, some brands misleading us with those ads and slogan but end up I see paraben, mineral oils and even tested on animals! I wish we have some sort of movement like this!

    November 17, 2013 at 7:17 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Aaahh!! Your recent articles are worth reading and worth sharing I must say <3 If I read it from consumer's point of you they are totally worth reading them. Thank a lot for sharing once again as I'm a real bad shopper and easily got trapped by those company tactics xxx

    November 17, 2013 at 7:45 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    I really like how you write all this. It’s a food for thought. Talk about misleading marketing ads. They are many companies that claims their products is organic with no chemical used. But they’re not.

    November 18, 2013 at 2:50 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Oh yes, I have noticed that there are many brands that claim they are environmentally friendly, but in reality they are not. Great post!

    November 18, 2013 at 3:48 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    I have noticed a lot of brands doing this, these days!! Whats scary is that the consumers believe in such companies and continue buying their merchandise!

    November 18, 2013 at 7:04 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Hmmm…never heard of greenwashing before this…But I can definitely name a few after I find out about what it means!

    November 18, 2013 at 11:20 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    I also saw some image before, while I was working on my Boss Facebook account, someone shared that image, regarding about those brands who uses the colors. And yea I never heard this greenwashing before. But thanks for sharing! Now I know why Sprite is in Green color too! haha!

    Deann
    GiG

    November 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    never heard of it before but I agree… it should not be legal

    November 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    i agree with you! a lot pf products say that they use “natural ingredients” and are “eco-friendly” but when you look at the ingredients, they contain a lot of chemicals! it really pays to read the label!

    November 19, 2013 at 12:20 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Oh wow! I had no idea about greenwashing either. I think it’s horrible that companies are doing this just to increase profit. gig

    November 19, 2013 at 1:38 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    this one is new to me. thanks for sharing information about greenwashing. I was really clueless about it until I read your blog.

    November 19, 2013 at 1:58 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    Thank you for sharing this very informative post. It is very misleading indeed and I hope companies will stop greenwashing people just to increase their revenue. giglove

    November 21, 2013 at 4:18 am
  • Reply Nina Gonzalez

    greenwashing ! and Eco- friendly very important these days

    November 22, 2013 at 7:28 am
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