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The Six Sins of Greenwashing

The Six Sins of Greenwashing

A new study by TerraChoice Environmental Marketing of Reading, PA, finds a whopping 99 percent of consumer products are guilty of greenwashing - the PR equivalent of hawking green attributes inaccurately. In the report, "Six Sins of Greenwashing," TerraChoice found that 1,018 common consumer products ranging from toothpaste to caulking to shampoo and printers committed at least one of the firm's identified six sins when touting "eco-friendly" products. The six sins include:

  • Sin of vagueness. Products often claim their ingredients are 100 percent natural when some of those natural substances are hazardous.

  • Sin of hidden trade-off. "Energy-efficient" products sometimes contain hazardous materials.

  • Sin of no proof. Some shampoos claim to be "certified organic" with no verifiable certification.

  • Sin if irrelevance. Products may claim to be CFC-free when CFCs were banned 20 years ago.

  • Sin of fibbing. Products sometimes falsely claim to be certified by a recognized environmental group.

  • Sin of lesser of two evils. "Organic" cigarettes or "environmentally friendly" pesticides.

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