TreeHugger is all for helping the green marketplace grow; the more products that utilize sustainable materials, fair labor or materials-reducing manufacturing, the closer we are to a green future where everything is sustainable. The world hasn't gotten there yet, so we approached Pottery Barn's new Eco Chic classification with some healthy skepticism, and found that everything under the sustainable banner wasn't as green as their cheery spring palette would have us believe.
It's not a total greenwash job; there are parts of each of the nine rooms they feature under the Eco Chic heading that are definitely green -- several of the bedding options and pillow covers are made of 100% organic cotton, for example -- but there are other parts that are definitely not -- lots of conventional cotton, as well, in addition to medium-density fiberboard (MDF) furniture, which contributes pretty negatively to indoor air pollution -- and they make no effort to differentiate the two. It appears that they want you to think that everything under the "Eco Chic" category is so, but visitors to their site really have to work to figure out what's green, and that's no way to sell "eco chic" to anybody.
Don't get us wrong; we want companies like Pottery Barn to integrate sustainable practices into their business, but we also want them to be transparent about it. Mixing and matching green and not-green ad naseum is sloppy marketing and makes it look like more eco-bandwagon hopping and less like an earnest effort to provide more sustainable options. Ultimately, it serves to marginalize the work they've done, which is definitely not the right way to incorporate green into the company's work.
We've seen this kind of thing before, with Ralph Lauren, for example, and it's too bad. We want companies to continue to go green, but we don't want them to try to pull the wool over our eyes, either. Memo to Pottery Barn: thanks for starting to go greener. Please stop greenwashing. ::Pottery Barn Eco Chic via ::Apartment Therapy: LA