A part of becoming a sustainably smart consumer is identifying/recognizing greenwashing, the false promotion of a government, company or group’s environmental initiatives. Their actions work in the opposite of what they are promoting.
It is not uncommon for advertisers to “stretch the truth.” However, when we are considering products that impact our health, safety and environment, we want to be accurately, and truthfully informed.
As a consumer how can you tell if a company is genuinely committed to being ecologically conscientious? You can start by doing some research.
The Greenwashing Index aims to keep advertising honest by allowing consumers to post and rate ads for environmental products and services. The ads are collected and maintained in an index that can be accessed by consumers.
The Federal Trade Commission provides Green Guidelines that explain standards for truth in green advertising. It also has a glossary of labels used in green marketing that helps consumers interpret what the product claims to do, or not do.
The following watchdog groups that help consumers navigate their way through green product and service selection.
Ecolabel Index is global directory of more than 450 ecolabel in almost 200 countries across 25 industries. The index promotes consumer transparency through collecting, organizing and sharing ecolabels, making it easier for consumers to access.
EPA Safer Choice helps consumers identify products that have safer chemical ingredients that do not sacrifice the quality of the product. Each product is evaluated using the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stringent criteria, updated in 2015.
Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization that is committed to protecting the environment by promoting the making, purchasing and use of environmentally responsible products and services. You can look for “Green Seal” products by conducting a filtered search.
Becoming a more educated consumer will help you select green products while saving green.