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The Green Life: It's Earth Day! So Beware of Greenwashers.

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April 22, 2010

It's Earth Day! So Beware of Greenwashers.


Our friends at Rainforest Action Network made this entertaining video that calls companies out for blatant Earth Day greenwashing. The video may be funny, but the subject matter is no joke: Going green is a massive marketing craze, and many corporations insidiously exaggerate or completely fabricate their eco-credibility to cash in on well-meaning consumers.

Need evidence? Dasani (a Coca-Cola subsidiary) recently switched to plastic bottles made from "up to 30 percent" plant-based materials. Really, that could mean anything from 1 to 30 percent. The rest is regular, non-recycled plastic, rendering their eco-claim bogus. They're still making landfill-clogging, disposable plastic bottles, and causing water problems around the world.

Our next example is brought to you by McDonald's, which published an "environmental best practices" e-book. That's big talk from a company we haven't yet forgiven for cutting down Amazonian rainforest, and for being one of the world's biggest peddlers of the world's most polluting product.

But who is stopping these companies from making baseless claims of environmental responsibility? As of now, there's no system for accountability, and marketers can bluff all they want. Fortunately, though, there are several certification and watchdog agencies out there; check out Greenwashing Index or the Greenwash Guide (PDF) to learn how to spot greenwashing.

-- Sophie Matson / video courtesy RAN

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