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How Greenwashed Is My Valley

Note to CEO’S: We Are Not Lemmings

jggb-0105-green-washing-seminar-no-attendance-color-1From Wikipedia: Greenwash – a term used to describe the practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly …. The term is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices.

From TerraChoice’s December 2007 study “The Six Sins of Greenwashing” – more than 99% of 1,018 common consumer products randomly surveyed for the study were guilty of greenwashing.

* Sin of the Hidden Trade-Off: e.g. “Energy-efficient” electronics that contain hazardous materials. 998 products and 57% of all environmental claims committed this Sin.

* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 environmental claims.
* Sin of Lesser of Two Evils: e.g. Organic cigarettes or “environmentally friendly” pesticides, This occurred in 17 products or 1% of environmental claims.

In the process of creating the following list, 24/7 Wall St. examined hundreds of state and federal documents and interviewed experts in environmental law, and officials who review data for non-profit organizations which have charters to track environmental violations.

List of the Top Ten Greenwashers in America:

1. General Electric (GE)
2. American Electric Power (AEP)
3. ExxonMobile
4. Du Pont
5. Archer Daniels Midland
6. Waste Management, Inc.
7. International Paper
8. British Petroleum (BP)
9. Dow Chemical
10. General Motors (GM)

The 24/7 Wall St. further reported: Every company on this list makes a substantial investment in creating a perception that they are friendlier to the environment than their peers are or that they are on the side of good or that saving the global ecosystem should be part of a corporation’s broad public responsibility-its good citizenship. These firms often spend millions of dollars on advertising to support the way that their companies are perceived in the green world. But, hidden behind these efforts, each corporation on this list is a Herculean polluter. And, that fact points to a hypocrisy which is almost completely hidden from the public.


“Green is green as in the color of money” – Brand director of General Electric, (Brandweek, July 24, 2006)

Greenwashing – the act of misleading the public regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product, service, or business line.

Pompous Bastard(s) – a person or corporation that insults our intelligents by assuming we are naive enough to actually believe their greenwashing, patronizing, propaganda.

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20 Responses to “How Greenwashed Is My Valley”

  1. Melanie Turner Says:

    I have seen the “sin” list before, but not the top 10 worst offenders. I can’t say as that I am surprised by the results. And I am flabbergasted at the “green as in the color of money” statement from GE…was the document where that statement was made supposed to only be “internal” or did that actually go public from the start?

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Melanie,… the way I read it, the GE director said this as part of the article interview, the full quote………. “Green is green as in the color of money,” said Judy Hu, global executive director of advertising and branding at General Electric. “It is about a business opportunity, and we believe we can increase our revenue behind these Ecomagination products and services.”…………Click this link to read the full article ;

  3. Says:

    How Greenwashed Is My Valley | Forced Green…

    “The Six Sins of Greenwashing” – more than 99% of 1,018 common consumer products randomly surveyed for the study were guilty of greenwashing….

  4. Shane Says:

    You have an award waiting for you at Congratulations and keep up the great work.

    Shanes last blog post..Lemonade Award

  5. Alison Kerr Says:

    I’m seeing more and more greenwashing recently. It’s sad, yet people are creatures of habit and I think would rather buy from the big corporations who’s labels they recognize than from a small company with an un-proven product.

    I like what Seventh Generation are doing. Do you approve of them?

  6. Linda Says:

    Hi Shane … Thank you for the award. It is very much appreciated. 😀

  7. Linda Says:

    Hi Alison … Yes, Seventh Generation gets it and does it right. Very good products. 🙂

  8. Wind Says:

    That’s what those pompous bastards are called! Greenwashers! Thanks!


    Winds last blog post..Stand up and Roar for the White Tiger

  9. Judy Says:

    Now THAT ticks me off! Who the heck are you supposed to trust. All of the top 10 are well known brands that one might think would be more honest. I, personally, have used, on a regular basis, 7 of the 10 you listed. I am going to have to think my preferences! Thank you for sharing!

    Judys last blog post..Danger In The Parking Lot

  10. Linda Says:

    Hi Wind … LOL! yes, you have it right!

  11. Linda Says:

    Hi Judy … It should tick you off! They could really learn a lesson from an ol saying “its better to shut thy mouth and be thought a fool than to open thy mouth and remove all doubt!” I think that should be their new slogan.

  12. wilson Says:

    WoW, Linda. I didn’t notice there are six types of different sins, before I read this article. It seems like there are many “Good people” that misused the greenwashing…

    wilsons last blog post..Bottled Fruit Juices Are Not The Best Option For Children!

  13. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Linda – This certainly doesn’t surprise me, but it does sadden me.

    As I read this I was thinking of all of the stimulus money that is getting handed out for eco friendly “whatever”, and wonder how much of it will land in the hands of the top ten or in the pockets of other greenwashers.

    Buyers beware!

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..Gain Readers By Selling Yourself

  14. Melanie Turner Says:

    This all just goes to prove we need independent third-party agencies to regulate and set up guidelines and standards to these claims…the way the USDA got “Certified organic” to actually mean something.

    Melanie Turners last blog post..Is the Print Industry Dying?

  15. Linda Says:

    Hi Wilson … It seems that way! But I guess it had become the norm.

  16. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … Exactly! Hopefully folks are paying attention and seeing them for what they are.

  17. Linda Says:

    Hi Melanie … Yes! Being certified in any profession has a huge meaning. Why not place a certification on them!

  18. corrin Says:

    Along the same lines, my clients are big on pushing organic right now. Everything is all about being organic.

    corrins last blog post..Don’t Call Them Ghosts

  19. Linda Says:

    Hi Corrin … Yep, it is like all of a sudden, anything green or organic seems to be the buzz words of the present.

  20. Oasis Energy Reviews Says:

    Oasis Energy Reviews…

    How Greenwashed Is My Valley |…

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