By Saudia Davis
I watch television, read magazines, and walk through aisles of supermarkets just like anyone else. And if there's one thing I've noticed, advertising campaigns are clearly generating a new buzz around green products and services. But what exactly does this mean for all of us? First off, it means for us to watch out, all things green are not made equal! Since green and eco are now considered trendy, this trendiness resonates as a different kind of green (cha-ching!) in the ears of profit-hungry companies. So now, companies large and small are exploiting our earth (yet again) for financial gain without any real concern for its impact. "Green is green as in the color of money," said Judy Hu, General Manager, Global Advertising & Branding, at General Electric.
This is known as Greenwashing. According to Sourcwatch.org, an organization that documents the manipulation of public perception of organizations, Greenwashing is the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue of a company . . . to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product . . . or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public. . . .
Larger companies have the money to build instantaneous campaigns laden with words such as carbon footprint, organic, and sustainable with images of lush forests, fuzzy animals, and dew drops. While smaller businesses echo their larger counterparts with similar motifs taking advantage of this growing niche. Sadly, when the clouds clear, the environmental and social issues may not be present behind these businesses after all.
These businesses hurt eco-initiative based businesses and consumers alike. They mislead consumers into trusting their brand as a viable source of material and information. This in turn places consumers in harms way, using products and services that are indeed unsafe for them, their families, and the environment. According to the New York Times, some 35 million Americans regularly buy products that claim to be earth-friendly. As you can see, if even a small percentage of people are misled, this can still translate into a significant number of people affected. While most businesses have only their bottom-line to be concerned about, truly sustainable green businesses have committed themselves to strive for the triple bottom-line: People, Planet, and Profit.
How can you spot it? Simply by looking closely at the PR or marketing tactics and/or read the label on the products of these companies. It’s a fair indicator that if you have difficulty pronouncing more than half the words in the ingredient box that it might not be all green. Often, these companies will spin-off green products or services without addressing the destructive patterns that are fundamentally rooted at their core. Without this, it is impossible for them to truly lower the environmental impact of their organization and product lines. In addition, it never hurts to Google the company to see what others are saying. For many products, the companies should be able to disclose their Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) which outlines the ingredients in extensive detail.
Saudia Davis is the owner of Greenhouse Eco-Cleaning, a full service eco-friendly residential and commercial cleaning company. For the past two years, they has made it their goal to help a discerning clientele achieve a healthier and sustainable way of living. This has been made possible through the utilization of all natural aromatherapy base cleaning products, the reuse/recycle program and our holistic eco-consultants. We began to market ourselves during the rise of two hot trends: rising personal health and environmental concerns, combined with the mass luxury movement. They are designed and priced on the principle of delivering a premium quality service, rather than that of the traditional mass-market cleaning services; our grade a bit higher, but still within reach of the everyday New Yorker. In a city going green, their organic element adds a touch of luxury, allure, and prestige to a quality cleaning experience. Please visit us at www.GreenHouseEcoCleaning.com