Clorox Doing Their Best To Greenwash Themselves.


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I have written before about how companies are doing their best to become more “green”, and the last example that I wrote about was when Clorox bought Burt’s Bees for $925 million dollars. Why would Clorox be interested in Burt’s Bees? Because Clorox is best known for making a toxic chemical that they advertise is good to use around your kids and pets. So a little Burt’s Bees action could not hurt to throw into the mix.

However, it seems Clorox is not happy with just buying a bodycare line, but rather they have gone ahead and made their own line of “green” cleaning products. It’s hard for me to swallow the combination of the words “clorox” and “green”, but they want you to think that they have gone green. And nothing could be further from the truth – they still sell every toxic product you have known and loved for years, and only added a “green” line to confuse you in the store. Why? Because they know that consumers are getting smarter about what they put on their bodies and inside their home – or wipe down their children’s toys with…and they want a piece of the action. But why support a company that promotes the use of bleach when there are so many good products to buy from other companies? It doesn’t make any sense.

I think Clorox is betting on the fact that the average consumer will buy their new green line of products and just put aside the fact that they are a chemical company. Sure, they sell bleach by the bucket, but hey look – new Green Clean! However, read the press release carefully:

We think we’ve set a new standard for what natural can and should be. But for some fragrance and color, our Green Works products are completely natural, the most natural cleaners on the market today.”

The “most natural cleaners on the market”…good one! So the products are not actually fully green, and Care2 sums up why:

“While Clorox has made great strides forward with this new line, unfortunately their reliance on ethanol is worrisome as it is a suspected lung carcinogen and respiratory toxicant,” she said. “It may not be polluting our ground water, but it carries a potential health risk for those who use it. And some of the products contain what appear to be synthetic fragrances, to which many are sensitive.”

And I think Jeffrey Hollender from Seventh Generation said it best about companies wanting to go green:

“Any large company that wants to be more “green”, socially responsible or a better corporate citizen will only become so because their senior management is committed to the cause and has developed a business case to support the transition together with a strategy to transform their internal culture. “Green” is not something a company becomes because of a new product line, a marketing campaign, a decision to be carbon neutral or even the selection an enlightened new CEO. “Green” is about the inside, not the outside of a company. It’s about its DNA, its culture, and its very reason for being.”

Clorox also continues to test their products on animals. That’s a positive, right? I mean, who doesn’t love using a product that was poured into an animal’s eyes to see what happens? I love animal testing. The images it provides are quite stunning, no?

I think this product is giving the company undeserved kudos for going green. Their marketing people or PR firm contacted me to get me to promote this new stuff and I told them there is no way I would promote a chemical company in a positive light. It seems a lot of the green blogs out there got the same press release I did and instantly starting singing the praises of this greenwashing, which I find very disturbing. Even the Sierra Club gave them their stamp of approval – I wonder how that happened. I don’t see Seventh Generation or Method or any other “green” product with that approval. Strange, no? And there are just too many safe and natural products from responsible companies that we should be promoting, rather than helping Clorox greenwash the general public.

Clorox, you cannot fool me with the greenwashing…and I hope you cannot fool anyone else either. You cannot be green just by selling one “natural” product among a sea of toxic chemicals.

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  1. sounds like National Sierra Club is “selling out” to me.
    wonder how much $$$ this will garner national sierra…….
    but no matter how much that figure turns out to be,
    it can’t justify the tarnished image this is causing the Sierra Club.

    selling out by greenwashing – how sad.
    national sierra should know better, but apparently can’t distinguish between shades of green: clean green or slime green.

  2. I love your site! I have a blog where I also write about “green living”, and reading articles like these really inspires me. I will be writing an article about companies that are “trying” to go green, and Clorox is one of them.
    How can you go green if you’re still selling highly pollutant stuff like bleach? You can’t on one side say you’re green and sell Green Works and on the other sell tons of bleach!

  3. ANCA – you cannot be green and still sell bleach, that’s the problem with them! Glad you like the site!

  4. They aren’t – their product is not even truly natural. There are great, natural products on the market one can buy. If Clorox really cared, they would have done 2 things:

    1. Made a truly natural product to sell.
    2. Not paid the Sierra Club some amount of money to get a greenwashing label.

  5. First of all, I’m not defending Clorox in any way.

    However, if you were CEO of Clorox and you wanted to stop making the harmful product, wouldn’t you introduce something better and greener to replace the product? You can’t just STOP making your top product and expect to survive. You have to pass the marketshare to a better product first. Is it worth supporting so they can make that changeover to a better product? I really don’t know. How would you suggest they start making a change for the better?

    Besides, if people weren’t choosing bleach, there’d be no reason to make it, right?

  6. You should know I sympathize with the majority of your writing and acquiesce with the hardline and perspicacious stances you take. However, consider the nature of a chemical. A chemical is merely a physcial substance with a chemical composition: the air we breathe, for example. It is a weak point in the bulwark of your wording i thought i’d point out – as a friend, of course.


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