Greenwashing-Tactics Fooling You?
False Advertising Ploys

Greenwashing-tactics and what's referred to as the sins-of-greenwashing can take advantage of the more vulnerable consumers out there rather easily. This really hurts the green-living movement and taints the "real deals" out there that work well.

Why? Because, people just want to believe in something that professes to be good for themselves and their families.

If you haven't heard of this term, this is how it is described:

To greenwash, is the act of misleading consumers in regards to the environmental practices or policies of a company or the environmental benefits of their services or product."

With the growth of the green living movement, comes the subsequent demand for products that will not only protect people, but these products are expected to save the planet from further harm as well.

Concerned consumers desperately want to believe that what they are doing in their lives is genuinely contributing to preserving the planet Earth. I know I do!

Unfortunately some concerned consumers can become greenwashed-consumers, especially in the areas of cleaning products and products for children.

And, It's Not Their Fault!

Green advertising has exploded to meet the demands of the public. Greenwashing-tactics have also emerged on various levels of severity in what is referred to now as the sins-of-greenwashing.

A small percentage of the environmentally safe products out there are really genuine and sin-free according to study-panels and research groups.

Some Companies claim they have an equal to "seal of approval" and third-party certification in the form of a stamp that looks real enough and pretty official to the average person. Problem is, there is no proof in fact of any authenticity at all.

One such example that parents are asked to simply believe blindly, is the claim by many companies that the chemical BPA or "Bisphenol-A" is not contained in their baby bottles. BPA is a chemical linked to infertility and cancer, and is found in hard plastic products.

It could not be verified that they had gone through any third-party process.

New Canadian Guidelines that state that claims to environmental friendliness have to be accurate and verified, are somewhat lacking in what that means exactly.

Apparently, third party certification isn't necessary to provide verification of claims. The companies themselves just have to provide proper testing. Those who have properly done this aren't required to make public their results.

The averge person probably wouldn't understand the language used in those reports anyway, and so what good is this?

green house

Greenwashing-tactics are even prevalent in the Real Estate Industry.

The "green home ad" that has peaked your interest for buying, may not be that green of a home afterall.

As with any other competetive market and the desire to cash in on the huge demand, sellers are getting a little "loose and creative" in their advertising efforts to lure prospective buyers.

Truly green home builders and owners will have implemented many if not at least some energy saving components.

Consumers need to take a close look at solar technologies, recycled building materials and energy-saving windows to name a few for starters when searching for that "green" home.

In the meantime, there is a list that refers to the sins-of-greenwashing and points out the misleading claims and how they have evolved.

The list is an analysis of patterns in greenwashing-tactics and lessons that greenwashed-consumers can learn from them hopefully to be wary of.

Hidden Tradeoffs

The claim that a product is green, but not acknowledging important environmental issues surrounding the product. A common example is "paper" and how it may come from a sustainability harvested forest, but what about the actual paper-making process? Did it worsen greenhouse gas emissions, water and air pollution?

No Proof of Certification

No papers to support the claim of being green.

confused unsure customer

Too Vague

Poorly defined, too broad terminology used. The term "all-natural" can be true, but the product could be poisonous at the same time.


A truthful claim, but totally irrelevant and not a helpful fact.

Example - A product may claim it is free of something dangerous, which sounds good, but you don't realize that the dangerous substance is already illegal or hasn't been available anyway.

The claim is true, but really is meaningless.

Lesser of Two Evils

Claims that are true with a specific category, but distracts the consumer with other products that are only slightly less harmful.


Outright false claims. The most common claim is that a product is Energy Star certified, when in fact it isn't. Quite bold in the list of greenwashing-tactics I think.

Fake Labelling

Used by marketers to exploit customers - actual phoney labels that look real and official.

What Greenwashing-Tactics Could Mean
to Consumers And Green Industry

Continuous greenwashing-tactics can lead to a build-up of mistrust on the part of the public especially if everytime they purchase, the product does not measure up.

Consumer purchases of phoney products become wasted chances to purchase the real deal from the honest places.

Legitimate Environmental products will get lost amongst the illegitimate products in the markets. True environmental progress will be slowed down.

The worse greenwashing gets, the bigger the challenge it becomes for consumers to get better educated in recognizing the signs of the greenwashing sins.

Greenwashing is going on with a high percentage still guilty of at least one item from the list of seven sins.

Latest reports though indicate good news and bad. Consumer demand continues to be healthy which is good and legitimate labelling is slowly getting better. But the improvement is just not significant enough yet.

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