OTTAWA, Nov. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Buyers beware - that so-called "green"
product is likely stretching the eco-truth according to the Six Sins of
Greenwashing study released today by TerraChoice Environmental Marketing.
The Six Sins of Greenwashing found that of 1,018 common consumer products
ranging from toothpaste to caulking to shampoo to printers, randomly surveyed
for the study, 99% were guilty of "greenwashing."
"The products we surveyed made a total of 1,753 claims, and 99% per cent
committed at least one of the Six Sins of Greenwashing," says TerraChoice
President Scott McDougall. "The Six Sins of Greenwashing will equip consumers
with tools to help figure out the truth about enviro-friendly products." The
study and consumer tip sheets can be found on the Web at www.terrachoice.com.
The environmental shortcomings were so prevalent that TerraChoice
separated them into six categories - or the "Six Sins of Greenwashing."
1. Sin of the Hidden Trade-Off: e.g. "Energy-efficient" electronics that
contain hazardous materials. 998 products or 57% of all environmental
claims committed this Sin.
2. Sin of No Proof: e.g. Shampoos claiming to be "certified organic," but
with no verifiable certification. 454 products and 26% of
environmental claims committed this Sin.
3. Sin of Vagueness: e.g. Products claiming to be 100% natural when many
naturally-occurring substances are hazardous, like arsenic and
formaldehyde. Seen in 196 products or 11% of environmental claims.
4. Sin of Irrelevance: e.g. Products claiming to be CFC-free, even though
CFCs were banned 20 years ago. This Sin was seen in 78 products and 4%
of environmental claims.
5. Sin of Fibbing: e.g. Products falsely claiming to be certified by an
internationally recognized environmental standard like EcoLogo, Energy
Star or Green Seal. Found in 10 products or less than 1% of
6. Sin of Lesser of Two Evils: Organic cigarettes or a
hybrid-yet-inefficient SUV. This occurred in 17 products or 1% of
"Consumers are inundated with products that make green claims," says
McDougall. "Some are accurate, certified and verifiable, while others are just
plain fibbing to sell products."
Manufacturers and suppliers can request an assessment and EcoLogo
certification in order to determine whether a product's claims are valid or if
they commit one of the Six Sins. EcoLogo's insignia will help consumers know
that an independent, credible and expert third party has verified a product's
"Consumers want to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle,"
points out McDougall. "TerraChoice's goal with the Six Sins of Greenwashing is
to help consumers become more knowledgeable shoppers so that they can buy
green with confidence."
EcoLogo is a government ecolabelling program that has been accredited by
the Global Ecolabelling Network, an international association of ecolabelling
programs, as meeting the ISO 14024 environmental marketing standard. EcoLogo
provides a market incentive to manufacturers and suppliers of environmentally
preferable products and services in more than 120 product categories (more
than 7,000 products currently certified), and thereby helps consumers identify
products and services that are less harmful to the environment. EcoLogo was
established in 1988 and today is one of the most recognizable ecolabelling
initiatives in North America. For more information, visit www.ecologo.org.
About TerraChoice Environmental Marketing
TerraChoice Environmental Marketing is North America's premiere
environmental marketing firm. TerraChoice has been the official management,
certification and delivery agent of the EcoLogo since 1995. Emphasis on
customer service is a key component of TerraChoice's delivery of the EcoLogo.
Companies going through the certification process are assisted at every stage.
In the final stages, applicants are visited by a third-party auditor who
conducts a final verification audit. For more information, visit
For further information:
For further information: Media Contacts: Susan Smith, Bluesky Strategy
Group, (613) 241-3512 x 221, c: (613) 371-0624,
firstname.lastname@example.org; To download a copy of the Six Sins of
Greenwashing Report, go to www.terrachoice.com and click on the "Six Sins of
Greenwashing". To see video of Scott McDougall talking about the Six Sins of
Greenwashing, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkIJtU67Rc8