Despite the U.S. governments efforts to provide guidelines for green produce marketing, the practice of Greenwashing, or the falsely promoting or exaggerating the greenness of a product or service, is not unusual. In making the determination as to the claim to be green, one can ask the following questions to help detect potential greenwashing situations:
Does the product have a hidden trade-off?
A building material such as bamboo which is green in itself may incur high shipping cost to be imported from Asia.
Can a product claim be verified?
Is there some authoritative source to substantiate a products claim to be green.
Is the product claim meaningful?
A cliam that a product is toxin-free is not necessary green when toxicity is not only determined by the material, but by the amount of the material the individual is exposed to.
Is the product claim true for most products of its type?
A retailer claims to be green because they provide online bill paying. This is a common practice in the retail industry and does little to speak of the retailer’s commitment to going green.
Because of the wide and varied claims of green products and services, one must be especially alert to the true nature of the product.