Thursday, September 15, 2011

Greenwashing - The Seven Sins

If you paint it GREEN, does it become environmentally sound.

Are there any products on the market that do not claim to to be GREEN?
Green plastic, Green water, Eco-cleaners, Organic Fruits, Recycled products.
Basically, GREEN has become the marketing boom of the new century. 

How do you tell which product is environmentally authentic?  Which companies have truly green policies.  What is the value to the environment of your purchasing power?

In my Environemntal Science class we explore the current trend of greenwashing by utilizing a website from TerraChoice, The Sins of Greenwashing.   

The website offers definitions and examples of each of the seven sins of the greenwashing trend, including vagueness, no proof, trade-offs, false labels, lesser of evils, irrelevance and outright fibbing. 
The site also provides annual reports of the environmental and greenwashing histories of the companies and products that are most guilty of these sins. 
The TerraChoice website include interactive games and reviews as well as links to social media and activists sites to encourage understanding and involvement.

I send my students out to find their own evidence of this greenwashing phenomenon.  Students are ask to take pictures of billboards, ads, products, packaging that evidence these seven sins. As part of the assignment thay must research the companies environmental history and current environemntal policies. Students must find a minimum of three examples and explain the how their photo evidence and the companies policies demonstrate and invalidate the products claims. 

Creating awareness is the first step in understanding.    

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