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December 1st, 2009
TOPICS: What is 'green'?
I recently wrote a post titled, Why I hate the word ‘green’ and you should too, and one of those reasons was due to green washing. Well, I’ve been thinking and now I love green washing. Not only do I like it, but I think it’s a large opportunity.
Needless to say, this seems to be an unpopular perspective these days. I can’t count the number of bloggers that dislike it.
Take a look for yourself:
One of my favorites, The Good Human has a greenwash of the week section: Greenwash Of The Week: Holy Cow Cleaning Product
I agree, green washing seems bad on the surface. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that green washing is good, but I think it needs to be put in a little perspective. I want to convince you why green washing is part of the process, a necessary step if you will, and that you can be happy and angry about it at the same time.
Let me clearly show you why greenwashing is good for the movement, in an easy step by step prof.
- The goal is to force society, companies, and individuals to reduce their impact on the environment
- The problem with word ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ is that it doesn’t have a definition
- Without a clean definition companies can claim to be ‘green’ with no proof
- This provides a HUGE opportunity to establish what ‘green’ means by establishing what it is NOT
- In our current system journalists, bloggers, NGOs, competing companies are incentivized to publish stories about companies lying, especially if this means furthering their own cause
- By a journalist, and other organizations showing why companies are not ‘green’ they will slowly create a definition of ‘green’ by the process of elimination
- Lastly, the fact that companies are ‘green washing’ means they are seeing an advantage to lying about it which means the size of the people who care about it is growing, a sign that the movement is growing
I’m not saying that I don’t get mad at green washing and that you shouldn’t either, I’m simply saying some perspective needs to be added. Greenwashing is part of the process. We should all realize that its going to happen, that it is our responsibility to seek it out and uncover it, and that this process will establish what ‘green’ is or is not.
Also, there appears to be a large opportunity to uncover greenwashing particularly in very large companies. Here is a great site that seeks to uncover green washing called The Greenwashing Index and another one called The Seven Sins of Greenwashing.
I would challenge anyone that gets really mad about green washing to see how it could be an opportunity for them to combat it.
On a scale of 1 (not angry) to 10(very angry) how angry does green washing make you? Why?
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