I think “most” would be hard to quantify. “Greenwashing,” or falsely advertising sustainable practices when really the companies is just stretching truths to appeal to a greener consumer market, is certainly ubiquitous. I do think that there is some common sense involved. If a mega-giant like Kraft is spreading green claims, I think I might be suspicious, or if something so obvious as a conventional car portrays itself in nature, or a bag of Fritos has a bag using earth tones and a matte appearance for its packaging I don’t think too many will be fooled for long.
There are also plenty of groups out there that expose these companies and try to inform customers (see below). For me the hardest part is knowing what sub-brands I find in the “hippie” stores are actually owned by a giant corporation I don’t trust. But looking at the ingredients can help a great deal, or researching consumer reports or reviews. Or asking GreenAnswers!
This is a difficult area, because, in some cases, there are regulations regarding the marketing of certain products, such as labeling something as ‘organic.’ On the other hand, it is in the interest of a seller to have you buy their product and there are a lot of strategies they can employ to make a product look ‘green.’ Unfortunately, it is often difficult to know where to draw the line. A product labeled USDA Organic has met certain requirements, but that does not mean it meets your personal standards. Given the effectiveness of environmental advertising, it is likely that the majority of claims are, at best, exaggerated.
See the second link below for a large source of information on the truthfulness of green advertisements.
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