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Sins of greenwashing – are eco-friendly products better for the world or just more hype?

The Earth as seen from space.
The Earth as seen from space.
NASA Goddard Photo and Video

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Supermarkets and drugstores are flooded with products claiming to be “green.” Driven by strong consumer demand, the number of green (or greener) products has risen by 73%. But according to a recent study by Terrachoice, an environmental marketing consulting practice, 95% of products sold in North America make misleading claims about safety and sustainability. Government guidelines for environmental labeling are pretty old school—they haven’t been updated since 1998—a fact that the Federal Trade Commission is trying to fix. Will new regulations help consumers find shampoos and cleaning products that really are healthy and friendly to the earth? Or should this fledgling industry be allowed to self-regulate? As a consumer, how do you decide what to buy?


Kevin Tuerff, President of EnviroMedia Social Marketing and CEO of Green Canary Sustainability Consulting

Jacquie Ottman, author, and consultant to the Fortune 500 and U.S. Government on green marketing issues