NewEnergyNews: ALL ABOUT GREENWASHING

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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  • MONDAY’S STUDY AT NewEnergyNews, April 19:
  • San Diego Gas & Electric’s Industry-Leading Plan To Fight Wildfires

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    ALL ABOUT GREENWASHING

    Your Guide to Real—and Fake—Green Products
    Kimberly Palmer, October 27, 2010 (U.S. News & World Report)

    "It turns out that many of the so-called “green” products in our homes might not be so green after all. The latest study from TerraChoice, an environmental marketing firm, found that 95 percent of consumer products make some kind of false claim about their environmental-friendliness. Even allegedly BPA-free baby toys might contain that unwanted compound.

    "The problem, TerraChoice reports [in
    Greenwashing Report 2010; The Sins of Greenwashing], is that anyone can slap a “green” or “all-natural” label on a product. Many consumers don’t realize how unregulated and ill-defined these labels are, and pay more for the products that have them…"

    From the Greenwashing Report 2010 (click to enlarge)

    "…[H]ow can consumers navigate the world of green—and not-so-green—products? …[L]ooking for third-party approvals, such as the Green Seal, can help you separate legitimate environmental-friendliness from the fakers, as can Internet searchers of products and ingredients. E-mailing the company directly when answers prove elusive is another option…The Smart Mama [can] do a lot of that research…

    "
    Green-washing as TerraChoice labels it, has also spread to the world of global travel. Resorts from Thailand to South Africa promise “green” getaways in the form of organic dining, local nature trips, and carbon offsets. Whether or not the trips are actually green, especially considering that they probably require a 14-hour jumbo jet ride, depends on the details."

    From the Greenwashing Report 2010 (click to enlarge)

    "One eco-tour operator in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in partnership with the nonprofit carbonfund.org, fuels its vehicles with biodiesel, uses only existing hiking trails in order to minimize the impact of visitors on the environment, uses washable lunch plates, and serves organic and local produce. Concerned travelers can also offset their carbon footprint further by funding wind energy, reforestation, and renewable energy projects through carbonfund.org. The nonprofit’s motto is that people should "reduce what you can, offset what you can't."

    "…[T]he government is also taking a closer look at companies that falsely use its “Energy Star” label…[and] the U.S. Federal Trade Commission might tighten its own rules about green marketing…[Meanwhile, do] research before buying into any “green” labels, because on their own, they don’t mean much."

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