The environmental movement has spread throughout the United States in a major way. Everywhere you turn, we’re reminded of the importance of preserving the earth’s natural resources. Many Americans have embraced the movement with the undying commitment that rivals any religious devotion. And big companies are taking notice. More than ever before, businesses are marketing their products and services to environmentalists. In fact, studies suggest that a huge percentage of American consumers who don’t identify themselves as strict environmentalists are often drawn to products marketed as “natural” or “environmentally friendly.”
Unfortunately, research shows that there’s often little truth behind these green marketing strategies. While some companies have a legitimate concern for the environment and implement that concern in their products, services and marketing, other less scrupulous companies try to lure consumers to their products or services by touting them as eco-friendly, green or natural, without any substances behind those claims. This phenomenon, popularly known as “green washing,” has become big business. Because companies know that many Americans will shell out more money for products if they think they’ve been designed with protection of the environment in mind, the temptation to stretch the truth about the greenness of a product can be compelling for executives driven by the bottom line. However, consumer watchdog groups are catching on to these schemes and consistently strive to expose companies that engage in questionable green washing tactics.
As the environmental movement has continued to spread, this phony brand of environmentalism is no longer just confined to big corporations. Instead, individuals are being targeted for their false claims of environmental commitment. For example, the news media and political watchdog groups have begun identifying certain politicians as hypocrites when their stated dedication to environmental issues is called into question by their actions. And hard-core environmentalists might point to the parking lots full of gas-guzzling SUVs at the nation’s local health food store as an indication that more and more families in middle America are committing greenwashing offenses everyday.
Are you a greenwasher? Do you live in a greenwashing household? The information below may help you figure out if you have committed egregious greenwashing offenses and if it’s time to atone for your environmental sins.
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