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Greenwashing and Green Labels

Last week, a report came out by TerraChoice, a North American environmental marketing company, stating that 95% of "green" products claim are misleading buyers.  The report stated that the amount of "green" products on the market today is 73% higher than just one year ago, which is good news, but 95% of them committed the Seven Sins of Greenwashing.  

Last year, I was suckered into buying Holy Cow Cleaner, because I fell for their fake "organic" label.  The fake labels are not uncommon.  The study found many products with fake labels, as well as products having no proof of environmental claims, vague marketing language, or saying that something is "all-natural." 

As for toys, the study found that less than 1% of "green" baby products were sin-free, and all "green toys" were a result of greenwashing.  

Earlier last month, the New York Times stated that the FTC wanted to tighten regulations when it came to green labeling. 

What's an eco-minded shopper to do?

TerraChoice recommends these legitimate labels, so look for them when shopping:

  • Biodegradable Products Institute
  • CFPA
  • CRI Green Label
  • EcoCert
  • EcoLogo
  • OKO-TEX
  • Fair Trade Certified
  • FSC
  • Green-E
  • Green Guard
  • Green Seal
  • Natural Products Association
  • Nordic Swan
  • PEFC
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • SCSSFI
  • Skal EKOSoil Association
  • UL Environment Environmental Claim Validation
  • UL Environment Energy Efficiency Verification
  • USDA Organic
  • Water Sense

When it comes to shopping, I also specifically look for items with a full ingredients list.  For household products, Simple Green Naturals, Seventh Generation, and Bon Ami are a few popular brands with a full list of ingredients.  For food, ignore anything that says "all natural."  It means nothing.  Read more about all natural vs. organic labeling.