What’s Wrong With The Green Message

PR and marketing efforts can vary drastically from industry to industry and when it comes to companies with a green or sustainable message,  marketing can take on a truly revolutionary role.  The ever popular term greenwashing, meaning to claim a product is environmentally friendly as a ploy to boost sales when it is anything but, has become commonplace and made it even harder with companies with a truly sustainable message to be heard.

One of the more important things to remember is that most companies with a green message walk the walk as well as talk the talk.  But sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference.  The problem often lies in the value and broadness of the claims the company is making.  “Environmentally friendly” is a popular one and yet, what does that actually mean?  Anything using the term friendly is too broad to actually be substantial message or claim but to the average consumer, it could be powerful enough to make a purchase. 

Claims such as “BPA-free” and “Low or no VOC” are tangible pieces of fact that can be verified and assessed, making them better tools for measuring actual greenness.  If a paint has no volatile organic compounds (VOC) and is essentially non-toxic, it is a safer and healtheir choice for both you and the Earth.  Specifics help consumers identify what it is they are paying for and how they are helping to contribute to a better environment. 

But what if anyone claims to be “green?”  If you were to head to the cleaning section of Target today, you’d see several brand name products that appear to be more eco-conscious and healthy than their toxic alternatives.   Clorox Greenworks (which I have used in the past) claims to be a safer alternative to normal cleaning products, being made from plant and mineral based ingredients.  But Clorox as a company is still the lead manufacturer of bleach, which has been linked to health problems and poisoning of fisheries and other marine life. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting a safer product for yourself and the planet, but sometimes the green message can be convoluted and misleading.  For companies who want to use the green message to promote and market their products, it is wise to look at how your company’s business practices reflect that message of sustainability.  The Natural Resources Defense Council has a Greening Advisor for companies looking to reduce their environmental impact.

I look forward to living in a world where “green” isn’t a qualifier or a message, but just a simple fact of life.

Posted by: Ashley/ follow me on Twitter

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One Response to What’s Wrong With The Green Message

  1. Well said. Much of the issue lies in the fact that there is no absolute measure for green; it is always relative. Have you seen the “Six Sins of Greenwashing”? It’s a good research paper that goes in depth on the six ways companies greenwash. One day, green business will just be good business, but we have a long way to go.

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