Monday, November 19, 2007

Greenwashing is a marketing worst practice

Following on to the posts from last week on using marketing in bad faith (here and here), today I read Joel Makower's excellent post on "Greenwashing" (a great turn of phrase)--the incomplete or untrue attribution of environmentally-friendly characteristics to products.

Joel assesses a report from TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, which analyzed marketing claims on behalf of green products. They identify six worst practices, such as "the sin of the hidden trade-off," which "suggest a product is 'green' based on a single environmental attribute (the recycled content of paper, for example) or an unreasonably narrow set of attributes without attention to other important, or perhaps more important, environmental issues." This neat trick was the most prevalent "sin," found in 57% of the claims studied.

Such misbehavior will only serve to heighten the public's cynicism toward all green claims, with the possible result that green content gets devalued, and therefore companies stop taking pains to create it.

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Anonymous said...

Scott McDougall of TerraChoice talks about the findings of the Six Sins of Greenwashing: