98% of Green Labeled Products are Actually Greenwashed


Image via Jaymi Heimbuch

We're all familiar with the prevalence of greenwashing. But the newest statistic is still staggering. According to TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, only 2% of products labeling themselves as green are completely legit in their claims. The remaining 98%, not so much.

The remainder commit "greenwashing" sins, that is they mislead consumers about the environmental benefits of a product or the practices of a company, said TerraChoice, which runs the Canadian government's eco-labeling program and counts companies as diverse as Canon and Husky Energy among its customers... Other sins in the report include lack of proof, vagueness, irrelevance and outright lying. Products that make environmental claims and are sold in big box stores in the United States, Canada, Britain, and Australia were surveyed.

Knowing this is, of course, terribly disappointing but also highly useful as we try to create a universal labeling system that not only helps consumers make informed choices, but also holds products to a certain bar.

Within the technology sector alone include such sources as EPEAT, Energy Star, and a company's own labeling system, such as Canon's Generation Green and HP's Eco Highlights. Then there are reference sources like Greenpeace's Electronics Report, Consumer Reports, or the Green Electronics Council. So just to make an informed decision on buying a new product, consumers have to do some serious research. A standardized green label would go a long way in helping everyone.

UPDATE: While we don't have a list of the products tested during the survey, and therefore names of who fudges facts about their products, you can still get some pretty detailed product demographic information via TerraChoice's Report. It's well worth reading so you know what to keep an eye on.

Via Reuters
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Tags: Consumerism | Corporate Responsibility | Greenwashing | Shopping