Sustainable You

Sustainability and the Built Environment

4900/6900: Wk 5 Greenwashing

Response due at the beginning of class on 2/09.

Weekly post response: From experience I have found that when people are learning about sustainability greenwashing is one topic people find extremely interesting. So, I think you should enjoy your post/readings for this week.

The Seven Sins of Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a major issue in product labeling. Many companies are using false claims of sustainability to sell their product. This week for your 5 pt sustainable you post you are asked to visit the The Seven Sins of Greenwashing. Read through the site, it is very easy reading. Plus, read through the 2010 Report on Greenwashing to learn more about how prevalent greenwashing really is. The report on greenwashing is easy to read and VERY interesting, it will tell you about trends in sustainable products and most greenwashed products, etc….

After reading the site and the 2010 Report on Greenwashing:

1) Take the “Play Name that Sin” Game on this page Play Name That Sin

2) Tell us what “grade” you got on the quiz.

3) Do you trust the website as a trusted third party organization? Or do you think they have ulterior motives or do you think they are a good watch-dog for the people. In other words, asses through your own research skills if you think the company/organization behind this website is legit and for the good of the people, or do you think they have ulterior motives?

4) Do you think greenwashing is present in your future career? Explain with examples.

5) Please locate a minimum of 3 products in your home that you believe are “sustainable” in some way based on the package label.

6) For each item selected, now you must investigate that products packaging and identify if it has greenwashing in the label. Tell us, how many of the 7 sins it has committed, and how do you know it has committed these sins?

6a) Also, for this assignment you are only expected to examine the “greenwashing” aspect of your products, but if you feel so inclined to dig deeper in the product you can do further research by calling the manufacturer and asking questions, visiting sites like the EWG Skin Deep, etc..

7) How do you feel about this product now that you’ve explored it under the eye of greenwashing?

8) For our Tuesday, Feb 14 (the day of love) class bring 1 of the 3 products you examine to class – Yup, like Show-n-Tell. And we’ll talk about your products in class. This is one of the best ways to get started understanding labeling, greenwashing, legit product info, etc….


Filed under: Sustainable Design

20 Responses

  1. Adam Nowaczyk says:

    2) Tell us what “grade” you got on the quiz.

    I received a 50% on the quiz. I thought it was a little more difficult than expected. Burt maybe that’s the point, it is showing how difficult it is to be a Green Consumer when there are so many diversions from the facts.

    3) Do you trust the website as a trusted third party organization? Or do you think they have ulterior motives or do you think they are a good watch-dog for the people. In other words, asses through your own research skills if you think the company/organization behind this website is legit and for the good of the people, or do you think they have ulterior motives?

    Based on first impressions I think is a trusted name. They don’t seem to be recommending any certain products, and they seem to have done their research in providing the consumer with a list of certifications that are actually legitimate. I will say just from a standpoint of being cynical that organizations/lobbying efforts that “oppose” something or “take action” to me sometimes try and create a deadlocked and sustained stance so they can keep making money, again, that’s just personal commentary.

    I wasn’t able to find negative information about this site in particular. Though greenness has become a political and polarizing issue (for some reason), there is no evidence to suggest that has any ulterior motive. I actually plan on sharing this website with friends and family.

    4) Do you think greenwashing is present in your future career? Explain with examples.

    Yes. In residential property management there is a huge market just for chemicals alone. Maintenance personnel have to be around these chemicals constantly (carpeting, mopping floors, concrete cleaner, etc.). I would say at least 6 years ago that there wasn’t a large amount of “greenness” promotion going on (at least where I was working), but it seems now that the trend is to label products as such, and I don’t think any field/market is going to be completely free of this type of trickery. Without government action and consumer advocacy groups I think companies would be able to get away with such deceitful practices. I also think is a great way to call salespeople out on the “BS” if they ever say something like “zero impact” or “the paint can is made of recycled material”, thinking critically can sometimes be hard during a sale, but I guess just being aware of the problem (greenwashing) in the first place is a good starting point.

    Another point I MUST make is the fact that the word “greenwashing” itself is not recognized as an actual word by Microsoft Word, so maybe on some sort of subconscious level that has an effect on awareness.

    5) Please locate a minimum of 3 products in your home that you believe are “sustainable” in some way based on the package label.

    Silk – soy milk
    Eggs – cage free
    Comic Books – DC only

    6) For each item selected, now you must investigate that products packaging and identify if it has greenwashing in the label. Tell us, how many of the 7 sins it has committed, and how do you know it has committed these sins?

    Eggs – though they are cage free eggs, which ensures a more “humane” way of egg production the package states that it is made with “100% Recyclable Plastic”. I found that odd because why wouldn’t they just make their own packaging with actual recycled material?

    Silk – I found no evidence of any sort of greenwashing. They were pretty clear that they don’t use genetically modified soy beans though. The packaging itself is a paper/cardboard form, so I guess I give them credit for not using plastic.

    Comics – DC Comics are printed using Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards. This means that the pages the actual stories are printed on (excluding covers) use recycled post-consumer paper. I wasn’t able to find out much about exactly how much of the pages are recycled material (30%? 50%?). I’m borderline on whether or not this is greenwashing though as the logo appears on the last page on the bottom corner and isn’t very noticeable to a casual reader.

    I think in terms of entertainment we’re seeing a huge shift in “greenness” when it comes to books, cds, movies, etc. because the digital formats (the physical product itself, not the production of the media, movie locations, ink, etc.) can get to the consumer with only using electricity. Unfortunately we’re not seeing much savings on the consumers end and they actually are getting less.

    7) How do you feel about this product now that you’ve explored it under the eye of greenwashing?

    It got me to critically think about the products I consume. So I would say that is a positive approach to make changes in my buying habits or at least thinking twice. In terms of CDs and comics though, I just don’t foresee any changes in that department, because of habit and I reuse (relisten, reread) the heck out of them.

  2. Katherine Holland says:

    1. Took the “Play Name that Sin” Quiz online.
    2. I scored a 7 out of 10 on my quiz. The questions were not so easy. I originally thought I would do better but I guess I really don’t know as much about Green Washing as I thought.
    3. Based off the websites name, “,” I originally thought this site would preachy. I thought it would be full of information on good verse bad products but instead the information was very helpful considering I did not really know what Green Washing was before. After looking through everything, I feel comfortable with the website. I felt the site had a lot of valuable information for consumers to become more aware of Green Washing. As a third party organization, this company website is legit. “The Seven Sins” are an easy way to remember what to look out for when buying sustainable products from the store. I think the company has good intentions for consumers to become more aware. I believe this site is good for the people to look at! I do not believe the people behind this website have ulterior motives. I feel they are simply motivated about getting consumers more knowledgeable about products that are available and sustainable as well!
    4. Yes, if I choose a career in Housing or Residential Property Management, I believe Green Washing will be present. The term “green” has taken over the home building industry. It will be important to be up to date on things such as Green Washing. For example, knowing about Green Washing will be significant for marketing. Knowing about eco-labels will contribute to better purchasing decisions for sustainable businesses. I think that whatever career path I take, being up to date on topics like green washing will be important in the future. Many companies are becoming more sustainable and no matter what, with the popularity of going “green,” customers will appreciate the effort.
    5. Silk (soy milk), Avalon Organics (face wash), and Earth Fare organic salsa.
    6. Silk (soy milk)- I did not see any signs of green washing on this label. The packaging is recyclable and says that it is all natural which I believe.
    Avalon Organics (face wash)- I did find a sin of green washing on this label. This product label used “the sin of worshiping false labels.” The label has a small symbol that says “Avalon Organics” and “Consciousness in Cosmetics” with a company “pledge” written out next to it. This label gave me the impression of third-party endorsement that does not really exist.
    Earth Fare Organic Salsa- I did not find any signs of green washing on this label. This product label had a USDA certified organic logo on it and states that this product is “certified organic by quality assurance international.”

    7. After exploring this product under the eye of green washing I have changed my thoughts on how to purchase sustainable products. I will now be able to think more about what is true and what is false when it comes to making purchasing decisions. This exercise has given me the ability to compare products in a different way other than just looking for the cheaper option!

  3. Katie Jones says:

    1. N/A
    2. 30%. The quiz was much harder than I expected. I have never really been into buying products that claim to be “green” because 1. I think a lot of times it is a huge marketing scheme and 2. Because in general, the products tend to be much more expensive than the original. Therefore, because I have never really paid attention to these labels, I wasn’t surprised I scored such a low score.
    3. From what I can tell, “” seems to be a reliable source. For starters, the website url has the .org domain. This means that the information is coming from an organization and not just a random person who decided to create a website. Also, the website is copyrighted. Therefore, if the company is willing to copyright the information then they are confident in what they are saying and are willing to back up their statements. The website was created by TerraChoice a company that is “committed to helping organizations transform sustainability leadership into marketplace leadership” (terra In general, I thought the website offered a lot of valuable information. The fact that the quiz was so hard helps prove that they are extremely knowledgeable on the subject and are committed to educating others.
    4. Yes, I definitely think that greenwashing will be present in my future career. The fashion industry is fueled by marketing campaigns and is constantly aware of a companies image. Since “going green” has become a huge trend in recent years, the fashion industry in particular has tried to capitalize on this craze. Whether claiming that they use recyclable materials or vowing to outlaw child labor, apparel manufacturers have been trying to capitalize on their green image. I think this trend will just continue to evolve in the upcoming years. Because people are starting to become more aware of the urgency of sustainability, they will start to more pressure on companies to do something about the issue and greenwashing is inevitable when companies try to skip corners.
    5. 1. Deer Park water bottle
    2. green works dishwashing liquid
    3. Horizon Organic 1% organic low fat milk

    6. The Deer Park water bottle is definitely using greenwashing to market their product. The company has a huge white and green label on its side that talks about how they now have a smaller cap which means that they are using less plastic than their original bottle. In fact, it claims that they are using 20% less plastic than before. Although this is all good and well, the fact is that 1. they are still using plastic and 2. there is no proof that they actually used a different bottle cap before.

    The green works dishwashing liquid I am on the fence about. The label claims that it comes from 97% naturally derived materials and I can’t deicide whether to trust it or not. On the back, the product contains the U.S. EPA symbol with the organization’s website written below. When I went to the website, it seemed to be a real/ reliable organization. The only reason I am a little hesitant to say that it is 100% sustainable is because one it still contains 3% of harmful ingredients and two because green works is owned by Clorox. Therefore, I think it is is Clorox’s way of jumping on the green bandwagon and is more of a marketing scheme rather than an actual effort to help the environment.

    I don’t think that the Horizon Organic low fat milk is greenwashing consumers. For one, I got it at EarthFare. This is not to say that EarthFare is 100% sustainable, however it is a store that I trust more in its environmental practices than other grocery stores. Second, it has the true USDA organic symbol. Therefore, I know it was approved by the trusted organization. Also, the carton can be recycled and therefore is made out of sustainable products.

    7. After developing a greater understanding of the term greenwashing, I will definitely become a more educated consumer. I normally don’t buy products that claim to be sustainable. In fact the products I analyzed above, weren’t products I purchased but products that my roommates owned. However, now that I have become aware of the symbols that come from trusted organizations, I will be more likely to pay a little extra for a product that I know is 100 percent sustainable.

  4. Melodie Davis-Bundrage says:

    1) N/A- Done

    2) Tell us what “grade” you got on the quiz.

    I received an 80% (8 out of 10) on the quiz. I already was exposed to some of the labels and some of the ones I didn’t previously know I guessed by the wording that seemed slightly off (for example “initiative” was in one of the incorrect labels). I wouldn’t think a proven certification would still be considered an initiative or produced by a group with initiative in the title.

    3) Do you trust the website as a trusted third party organization? Or do you think they have ulterior motives or do you think they are a good watch-dog for the people. In other words, asses through your own research skills if you think the company/organization behind this website is legit and for the good of the people, or do you think they have ulterior motives?

    I wish the website provided more information on the specific skill set of the founder or consultants. No names of staff, bios, previous employment or educational background are listed on the about us page but yet they tell us they are scientific and business experts. The contact us page is missing a street address or local phone number (only a 800 number is listed) and there are no logos for Better Business Bureau type affiliation. I did search on the BBB website under TerraChoice Group and and neither were found as businesses. So you may be skeptical until you dig further or read through the full reports. Then I googled TerraChoice to see if they had a corporate website aside from the greenwashing and then found the team of experts, press releases and credentials. It is a possibility for a company to find a niche or create one, be great in marketing and communications and work with retailers to make their image better against a perceived or created niche problem but this does not seem to be one of those cases as the team has a wide range of scientific, CSR, business and environmental experience to be a watch-dog for consumers. I don’t feel the team has ulterior motives, the report provided a wealth of information and the test was educational.

    4) Do you think greenwashing is present in your future career? Explain with examples.

    Greenwashing or educating others about it is definitely in my future career as a person seeking to teach fashion entrepreneurship and retail buying in a collegiate environment as well as consulting with small independent retailers. Having this knowledge will allow me to direct owners to certification standards, select the best product inventory for their stores, and inform students that may be involved in developing products for their new business.

    5) Please locate a minimum of 3 products in your home that you believe are “sustainable” in some way based on the package label.

    1) Steelo Cosmetics Mineral Foundation
    2) Pure Orchid Hydrating Shower Gel
    3) CleaNet Dishwashing Liquid

    6) For each item selected, now you must investigate that products packaging and identify if it has greenwashing in the label. Tell us, how many of the 7 sins it has committed, and how do you know it has committed these sins?

    1)I don’t think there is any greenwashing in the label. The ingredients are listed and it does state mica & zinc oxide “may be” included so it doesn’t appear they are trying to falsify the label. In further research though the product was not listed in EWG Skin Deep but I did look up mica and zinc oxide and they are listed as only fair hazard so that is good.

    2) The label on this product includes the term “naturally derived” and the term “paraben free”. Although these terms are good and not greenwashing as this is more definitive than “all natural” and tells you synthetic preservatives are not included the product does have fragrance so that sin would be the lesser of two evils when ingredients are concerned.

    3) The dish liquid states “phosphate free” on the label but does not have any certifications on the label.From my research phosphates were banned in the US in laundry detergents but not necessarily other products. This may be the sin of irrelevance if the ingredient is banned anyway but I’m unsure about laundry detergent versus dish liquid detergent. Mor information on phosphates is available at treehugger.

    6a) Also, for this assignment you are only expected to examine the “greenwashing” aspect of your products, but if you feel so inclined to dig deeper in the product you can do further research by calling the manufacturer and asking questions, visiting sites like the EWG Skin Deep, etc..

    Done in number 6 above.
    7) How do you feel about this product now that you’ve explored it under the eye of greenwashing?

    I am happy still with my foundation, now that I more educated about parfum in body products I will probably replace the shower gel with something that has an essential oil instead for scent and the dish detergent doesn’t contain a complete ingredient list other than listing phosphate free so I am skeptical about it now.

  5. Melissa Worth says:

    2) 90%—I have a sharp eye for greenwashing claims.

    3) From the little research I’ve done, TerraChoice, the company behind the Seven Sins of Greenwashing, does seem to have ulterior motives. The company is an environmental marketing and consulting firm, which means that it is in the business of both creating green product standards & selling claims verification services to product manufacturers. Therefore, as TerraChoice continues to inform consumers about greenwashed products, the manufacturers of these products will turn to TerraChoice for help in fairly marketing these products. That being said, I still think it’s important for people to understand that they are being misled & that not all products claiming to be “green” are “sustainable.”

    4) I believe that greenwashing is present in every industry, including accounting, and that it will continue to be present in my future career at KPMG. Right now, KPMG has a Global Green Initiative which states, “KPMG is committed to having a wider positive impact on the environment and addressing local environmental challenges. KPMG member firms are investing in responsible energy use, educating and supporting our people in making sustainable decisions, working on environmental protection projects and joining forces with leadership groups and other businesses to address impacts.” And while I believe that this is true & that many of their claims can be substantiated w/ examples, some of their claims are vague and misleading. For example: according to their website, KPMG in Australia has become carbon neutral, and KPMG in Brazil has asked every employee to set at least one goal in their appraisal to reduce their individual carbon footprint. The website, however, does not give any mention to whether or not every employee actually set a goal or whether or not their goals would have any substantial impact on the environment.

    • Clorox compostable cleaning wipes
    o “Natural” compostable cleaning wipes that have never been tested on animals
    o Sin of vagueness
     They are made w/ “fine natural cleaning ingredients, such as coconut-based cleaners and essential oils, but I don’t really know what that means.
    o Sin of worshipping false labels
     There’s a picture of the Sierra Club, but in tiny print at the bottom, it says, “Sierra Club logo is used with permission, which does not constitute a sponsorship or endorsement of any company or product.” You’d definitely miss that disclaimer unless you were searching for it.
    • 100% cotton all natural puffy fluffs (cotton balls)
    o Sin of the hidden trade-off
     Conventionally grown cotton is extremely bad for the environment due to its heavy use of insecticides.
    • Mario Baedescu fruit & vitamin A&D hand cream
    o Not tested on animals

    7) I’m not sure if I examined all of these products maybe as closely as I should have, but I’m okay with my findings. In fact, I didn’t find anything wrong with my lotion at all, but I think the entire idea of greenwashing is still somewhat confusing & not clearly defined. If nothing else, these product manufacturers are trying to make a step in the right direction. I may be wrong, but I still feel like there are some environmental benefits to buying the Green Works brand of Clorox wipes over the traditional brand, assuming that these aren’t false claims. It is interesting to note though that all three of these products had the same color scheme: green writing on a white background, and every product came in a recyclable plastic container.

  6. Megan Greene says:

    1. It is true that reducing waste will help our world, but not forever. Because there is only a certain amount of nonrenewable resources left in our world, reducing waste and usage is only prolonging our exhaust of resources. Right now, we have the mindset that a company produces something, we consume it, and then it becomes waste. However, Cradle to Cradle brings a new prospective into consideration. This paradigm is about keeping everything in a continuous cycle, letting nothing go to waste. People won’t need to reduce anymore, they will just reuse. Companies will produce products that won’t be consumed, but borrowed. Every part of a product can be brought back in the technical or biological cycle. Inputs of certain products can be used to make something completely different. Cradle to Grave just seems illogical. Why use something once and waste all its potential when it can be used again?
    2. If we move towards this lifestyle, I think it will be extremely effective in eliminating waste altogether, and it will be beneficial for generations to come. However, this practice would take an immense time commitment and hard work. People are so used to the concept of “one-time use” that it would be difficult to change their mindset. Also, companies would have to generate ideas about how to use products and materials again after they have already been used once. However, maybe not in this generation, but sometime in the future people will be forced to deal with the implications of waste, and this seems like the most practical way to fix the problem. It is almost common sense…why has no one thought of this before? Our society needs to lean away from always wanting the newest and the best and focus on the global impacts of their decisions.
    3. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program has effectively turned over 23 million pairs of its shoes into 320 sport surfaces. I would never have thought that sport surfaces could be made out of shoes. That just shows that truly anything is possible with the Cradle to Cradle outlook. The “closed loop” concept is just that; turning one thing into another, into another, into another, so that it’s cycle never ends, the loop never opens. Consumers can benefit from this idea of closed loop because they can be the consumers of multiple things used from the same product. A person could have worn the Nike shoes that were donated to Reuse-A-Shoe, then played a sport on the surface that was made from the shoes. The production benefits the consumer by not letting their products go to waste while also benefitting the environment.
    4. Nike has set up Reuse-A-Shoe programs in many of their stores to allow customers to bring in old shoes. Nike then uses materials from these shoes to make new products, such as sporting surfaces. They are setting up a closed loop model by not letting shoes that are returned to them go to waste. However, there are still millions of shoes that are not being reused because of customers choice to not return used shoes. More consumers will benefit from this program if participation increases, and Nike will get more customers to participate it they establish more convenient locations for this program.
    5. I highly respect the work Nike is doing. Nike is a widely recognized company worldwide. People look up to those that make noticeable, bold moves. If people start to see major companies participating in this sustainability movement, they are likely to catch on and be greatly influenced. Nike has been a successful company for a long time now. It is great to see that they can continue to be prosperous, while supporting a new movement by implementing new programs and changing products. I definitely would buy Nike products over any other athletic brand knowing that they have begun to enact the closed loop model to their products.
    Week 5
    2. I received 50% on the quiz. I was good at guessing which symbols were legitimate but not so great at determining what sin each image was committing.
    3. The fact that the website is a .org instead of a .com showed me that it was an organization, not just some untrustworthy website. I read through the site and it was extremely informative. I had no idea what Green Washing was before reading the information on the site, so it was very helpful. They used many facts and examples that made me feel that I could trust the information it was giving me. This site helps consumers know what to look for if they want to avoid Green Washing. The Seven Sins game familiarized me with the different fibs and tricks companies use to try and sell their products. I will now pay attention to things like that when I go to purchase products. I do not think that this site has an ulterior motive at all. It seems that all the creators want is for customers to be more knowledgeable about sustainable products that are safe for the environment.
    4. Yes, greenwashing is definitely present in my future career in the fashion industry. Companies will do almost anything to attract more customers to make greater profits. Companies may feel like they can lie to customers and say they use recyclable materials, when in fact they do not. As more consumers begin to support this sustainability movement, companies will have a harder time lying to customers. For example, Nike is using old shoes to make sports surfaces. This could make some customers transfer over from New Balance or Puma knowing that their old shoes will have a use. However, customers are then putting their trust in Nike. Without more convenient donation locations, customers will soon see the number of shoes that still go to waste. Since Nike states that peoples’ old shoes will have a purpose, customers will pressure Nike to stay true to their word.
    5. Brita Water Bottle, Horizon Organic Milk, Shout Stain Remover
    6. –Horizon Organic Milk- I do not believe that this product is greenwashing. Its package has the USDA organic symbol. I also looked on Horizon’s website and they state that the farmers who supply the milk work in harmony with nature, using holistic practices that respect and protect the soil, water, air, plants, and wildlife. They also say that all of the milk is produced with kindness to cows and to the environment. For them to include all of this information about protecting our world, it seems as if they truly care and pride in their practices. I believe this product is very trustworthy.
    -Brita Water Bottle- I no longer had the packaging that came with my water bottle, and all I found on the bottle was the recyclable symbol, so I researched a little online. The Brita website stated that they have saved over 255 million bottles so far. I thought this was remarkable and a monumental step in reducing plastic waste, since 69% of water bottles end up in the trash. They are working with other companies and projects to keep bottles out of landfills. I do not think that they have committed any sins. The entire focus of their company is on recycling and eliminating waste, so I believe they can be trusted.
    -Shout Stain Remover- I picked this product because it is not one that anyone would think of as necessarily “good” for the environment. However, more mainstream companies are beginning to shift join the sustainability movement. It has the official Greenlist label and US EPA Design for the Environment on it. However, I think it is committing the sin of the hidden trade-off because it says “Our patented process to select raw materials with reduced environmental impact while maintaining high performance.” Yes, it is great that there is less impact on the environment caused by this product, but it also shows that the impact is not totally eliminated yet which makes me wary about this product.
    7. I definitely will look into the details of products before I buy them. This greenwashing has gotten me to seriously consider, and doubt, the information that the companies provide for their products. I think that products that begin as sustainable in the firs place partake in less greenwashing than products whose original model or formula has been improved to reduce impacts on the environment instead of.

  7. Hannah Greenberg says:

    2. I got a 70% for my score. Even after reading through the website, and the report, I found some to be tricky.

    3. I do trust this website. After reading different things on it, and their purpose I found it to be trustworthy and legitimate. They seem to be looking out for the good of the people. They are very honest with their information. One of the reasons, I particularly was trusting of this site is because they were very optimistic. Rather than scolding the companies for what they have done wrong in the past, they acknowledged their improvement. Also, they are eager to help the companies which makes me believe they are truly there for the right reasons. They developed a marketing guide for the companies’ use.

    4. Yes, I think Greenwashing will be present in my career. I plan to go into the fashion industry, and clothes are constantly being made with different fabrics, dyes, and labors that are eco-friendly. Are some of these designers greenwashing? Maybe. However, I do not plan to be on the PR, Marketing, or advertising side of this business so I do not think I will have much of a part in the greenwashing/avoiding greenwashing.

    And I agree with Adam, it is quite annoying seeing all the red lines under greenwashing.

    5. Seventh Generation Dishwasher Gel, Cascade Dishwashing Gel, Windex Multi-Surface

    -Seventh GenerationDishwasher Gel: After examining this bottle carefully, I do not think it has any greenwashing. It is advertised as non-toxic and chlorine free which it is. The bottle is made out of recycled plastic. The ingredients are all biodegradable, and on the back of the bottle it has the quote “ in our every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the next seven generations.”

    -Cascade Dishwashing Gel: This gel did not have much greenwashing. The bottle was green, which I know is not technically greenwashing, but people think environmentally friendly when they see green products. Therefore, I think the company did this on purpose. The only other thing I noticed was that it advertises twice on the bottle that it is 100% phosphate free, but fails to list the ingredients that are in it.

    -Windex: On the front of this bottle, there is a green sticker that reads “Greenlist Ingredients. Same Great Product!” The bottle, however, does not list the ingredients. It does explain what Greenlist is, and list a website where one can find the ingredients.

    7. None of my everyday products were advertised/appeared green. I do, however, use the dish detergent often. I will think to buy products that are true to what they are advertising, and are actually green. Luckily, one of my roommates is very environmentally friendly and buys a lot of our household goods from EarthFare. As far as my personal every products such as toiletries, etc I think I will keep to what I know. I have been using the same products for a long time, and I am a creature of habit. I am totally up for changing certain household products and foods though.

  8. Ari Strickland says:

    Tell us what “grade” you got on the quiz
    –I scored 7/10.

    3) Do you trust the website as a trusted third party organization? Or do you think they have ulterior motives or do you think they are a good watch-dog for the people. In other words, assess through your own research skills if you think the company/organization behind this website is legit and for the good of the people, or do you think they have ulterior motives?
    –After reading their 2010 report on greenwashing, I find it easy to put my faith in them as an organization working to make a “greener” market. I love how they add genuine advice for consumers and producers. With the thorough information on greenwashing and knowledge about which labels to keep a look out for, they leave me with no doubt that they are doing good things for society and are trustworthy.

    4) Do you think greenwashing is present in your future career? Explain with examples.
    –My future career, as an anthropologist/ professor probably won’t show many oppurtunities where the problem of greenwashing is present, unless specifically talking about the choices I make on products I may buy, but this isn’t specifically pertaining to my field. Advertising has absolutely nothing to do with anthropology. However, when I settle down to raise a family, I am certain that I will keep in mind ALL of the sins, and continue to make my family a more successfully sustainable household. I’m sure I’ll spread the word along the way to my students, peers, and family members about the importance of being aware that greenwashing exists. As far as dealing with it as an issue, not so much.

    5) Please locate a minimum of 3 products in your home that you believe are “sustainable” in some way based on the package label.
    -Locally baked bread from a bakery in Athens, purchased from EarthFare
    -Seventh Generation surface cleaner
    -Natural Conair hairbrush made from wood

    6) For each item selected, now you must investigate that products packaging and identify if it has greenwashing in the label. Tell us, how many of the 7 sins it has committed, and how do you know it has committed these sins?
    -the bread has committed no sins, as far as greenwashing goes. its local. its cool
    -the 7th generation cleaner is certified but doesn’t go into detail about ALL the ways it could be more “green”; sin of Hidden TradeOff
    -only the HANDLE is natural, and wooden..the rest of the hairbrush is exactly like all the other hairbrushes.; sin of VAGUENESS

    7) How do you feel about this product now that you’ve explored it under the eye of greenwashing?
    I always thought the hairbrush was lame, i just like wood. The cleaning supplies could be a little more thorough with explaining exactly how they are green. I absolutely looove the bread, period..

  9. JoAnn M says:

    1) N/A

    2) Tell us what “grade” you got on the quiz.


    3) Do you trust the website as a trusted third party organization? Or do you think they have ulterior motives or do you think they are a good watch-dog for the people. In other words, asses through your own research skills if you think the company/organization behind this website is legit and for the good of the people, or do you think they have ulterior motives?

    –, I believe it taking steps in the right direction to help eliminate Greenwashing. Just the fact alone, that they are bringing more attention to the issue, makes me more apt to believe them. They don’t necessarily try to sell or advertise to the reader any specific products. I also was more convinced by their updated reports and current website. From a political standpoint, I do have a hard time believing anything though…. I would like to hope that we are not “false label worshippping” Terrachoice.

    4) Do you think greenwashing is present in your future career? Explain with examples.

    -I believe Greenwashing will always exist and as a consumer, it’s important to be aware of this. With that being said though, it is difficult to be certain of anything. I believe the foods my family and I eat, will almost always try to promote that they are “nutritious”, even though we all KNOW that the marshmallows I devour after dinner, with zero percent transfat is actually “good” for me…. I believe the sin of the lesser of two evils will infinitely exist also. It’s hard enough to change the every day Joe’s mindset to be “greener”, let alone someone in a business position. Thing such as recycable paper at a glimpse seem to be a great idea, but when we dig down deeper, was that paper created in a a factory with low emissions or did it create more damage than it helped to avoid?

    5) Please locate a minimum of 3 products in your home that you believe are “sustainable” in some way based on the package label.

    -Suave Hairspray
    -Shout cleaner

    6) For each item selected, now you must investigate that products packaging and identify if it has greenwashing in the label. Tell us, how many of the 7 sins it has committed, and how do you know it has committed these sins?

    -Suave Hairspray:
    -“No CFCs and meets NY/ CA’s clean air standards”
    – Sin of the Hidden Tradeoff and Sin of irrelevance
    – CFCs are illegal everywhere and this product is in
    GA, not NY or CA. Even though CFC’s aren’t being
    used other chemicals are being used t replace them.
    -Shout cleaner:
    -“Green List Promise” and “Same great product”
    – Sin of Vagueness
    – Doesn’t state what the Green list promise is and how
    it’s helpful. Also, how can it be the “same great
    product” if they’ve changed something
    about….maybe a better product than before? This
    can be misleading.
    – Use with HE machines and the “Clean you can trust”
    – Sin of the hidden tradeoff
    – This product may help with the cut down and use of
    water and electricity, but is it actually a safe product
    to be using? I wasn’t sure if this would classify as
    hiding behind someone else’s label or not. It also
    says the clean you can trust, but I saw no guarentee
    to that on the package.

    7) How do you feel about this product now that you’ve explored it under the eye of greenwashing?

    – More skeptical than before. I think certain products are headed again in the right direction, but people don’t know what these labels REALLY mean. I feel as if the Suave hairspray labels are completely pointless and I would like to think Shout’s label actually means something, but I just don’t know. Tide’s label didn’t say much to me about the product, but it showed me that is supports High efficiency machines. I think to really be aware and certain on any product, research would have to go past just looking at a label. The companies website in my opinion wouldn’t be the best resource to look into, but preferably consumer reports.

  10. Brittany Biggers says:

    2. I answered 4 out of 10 questions correctly.

    3. I do believe that is a reliable resource. They seem to have multiple resources and statistics to back up what they say about greenwashing. I do not believe their have ulterior motives. I think it would be obvious that they were biased if there were advertisements for specific green products plastered all over the website, but it seems like they are mostly focused on giving consumers the facts.

    4. Greenwashing will most definitely be present in my future career. I am hoping to work in a field that has to do with environmental anthropology. This would entail me working with conservation organizations or NGOs with environmental projects that deal with humans and human livelihoods. Therefore, it will be important to be educated about greenwashing, because I will need to be conscious of which programs claim to be green, when really they are just putting up a front.

    Reusable water bottle
    Reusable grocery bags
    Clorox Greenworks disinfectant wipes

    6. The Greenworks products are definitely greenwashing. They are guilty of the sin of vagueness. Also, there is nothing sustainable about using wipes.

    7. I already knew that the product was guilty of greenwashing, especially because they are wipes, which is not very sustainable. So my view of the product has not changed. Knowing the truth about this product did not stop me from purchasing it, because I figure that it is better to buy a product that is slightly more environmentally friendly than just regulas clorox.

  11. Danielle McDaniel says:

    1. N/A
    2. My score was an 8 out of 10.
    3.Looking though the website, it seems official and trustworthy. It is good for people who need or want to learn more about greenwashing. It is easy to understand.
    4.Since I will be working with home furnishings and building materials throughout my career, knowing brands and being able to spot greenwashing will be important. Knowing which paints have little or no VOC’s,and using Energy Star rated products, will be something to consider in designing.
    5. – EOS lip balm
    – Greater Value Water bottle
    – Spiral-bound notebook-Recycled paper, certified sourcing
    6. Lip balm- Although it no longer has the labeling on the actual product, when I bought it claims that it is 95% organic and 100% natural. I believe that it is organic because it has the USDA Organic seal of approval. At first I thought that the 100% natural might be one of the sins but on EOS’s website they claim that it is paraben and petrolatum free, so it could be true.
    Water Bottle- This claims that it uses less plastic than a normal water bottle. I think that it could be committing one of the seven sins of greenwashing.
    Notebook- This is certified by SFI program so I think that it is true to its claim.
    7. After looking more closely at the products I mentioned, I feel pretty good about them. I might try to find something to replace the water bottle but with everything else I feel that they were good purchases. It has definitely made me more aware what to watch for in the future so that I know when I buy something that it isn’t going to be a greenwashed product.

  12. Kelsey Savell says:

    I got 8 out of 10 correct on the quiz.

    I definitely trust the website as a watch-dog for the people. Overall, I think TerraChoice does a great job of identifying manipulative advertising tactics in green marketing. However, I think they extend beyond environmental issues in some of their assessments. For instance, their explanation of the “Sin of Lesser of Two Evils” uses organic cigarettes as an example, saying that the cigarettes may be made from natural products, but they are still unhealthy. I do not see anything wrong with a cigarette company advertising about the ingredients in their product as long as those claims are true. Advertising about organic cigarettes may lead a smoker to believe he or she is making a “healthier” choice, but I do not think this constitutes greenwashing. I do not think this particular instance is an environmental issue; it’s an ethical one. There are multiple moral aspects at play when consumers purchase products, and sustainability is only one of these aspects. Terra Choice is right to recognize that a variety of mechanisms are at play when making purchases, but I do not think it is right to place all these issues under the same umbrella.

    I am planning on going into environmental law, and I can see greenwashing becoming an issue I am confronted with on a daily basis in my career. I recently read an article that described the possibility of suing BP under false advertising laws or securities fraud because of the intense greenwashing campaign they ran just prior to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was very interesting and made me excited to consider my own future career in environmental law.

    L’Oreal Paris True Match Naturale Gentle Mineral Makeup: advertises as natural product, but contains copper PCA (affects kidneys and respiratory system), titanium dioxide (affects reproductive system and is a suspected carcinogen), boron nitride (affects blood toxicity), kaolin (affects respiratory toxicity), and mica (affects gastrointestinal and respiratory toxicity). I know that these ingredients are natural, but they can also be toxic, a fact that L’Oreal conveniently chose to leave out of its advertising. I will probably still buy the makeup, but I will be weary of the company’s ads.

    Purina Pro Plan Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Formula: advertises that all its ingredients are natural. As far as I can tell, the food is very healthy for my dog. The bulk of the food is made from chicken and chicken meal and also contains vitamins. The caloric information is posted on the packaging. However, Purina has had several environmental fines or penalties in the past few years as well as various controversies over its products. I will probably continue to buy this food for my dog because it is healthy for him, but if I were to discover another brand of comparable price that is equally healthy and has a better environmental record, I would start to purchase that one.

    Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream bars come in a box that says “This paperboard carton is produced without chlorine bleach—one way for us to use packaging that’s better for the environment. To learn more visit us online at” Also, “We oppose Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. The family farmers who supply our milk & cream pledge not to treat their cows with rBGH. The FDA has said no significant difference has been shown & no test can now distinguish between milk from rBGH treated and untreated cows. Not all the suppliers of our other ingredients can promise that the milk they use comes from untreated cows.” These claims are specific and—as far as my research has told me—honest. They are rBGH-free as well as non-GMO certified (they do not use genetically modified organisms in their products). Ben and Jerry’s has certified organic processes and certified organic farms. And they are ISO 14001 certified. However, ice cream in general is unhealthy, and this one is no different; it contains very high amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. I also visited the company website and was impressed with their commitments to environmental and social justice movements. When I have to urge to indulge in ice cream, I will continue to choose Ben & Jerry’s.

  13. Mary Alice Jasperse says:

    2.) I scored a 6/10 on the quiz. I was really good at identifying what the particular labels stood for and which ones were valid, but I had no idea which “sin” a particular label was committing. I think I am predisposed to think all labels are being somewhat deceitful, no matter which category of sin they are committing.

    3.) After reading most of the Sins of Greenwashing website, they seem to be strangely pro-business. They definitely take the attitude of, “chemical companies are trying to adapt, but change takes a while.” To me, this argument is not very valid. The greenwashing company seems to be a third party that businesses go to for validation of their anti-greenwashing campaigns. I don’t really think the Sins of Greenwashing people would post daily examples of greenwashing in real products we see everyday at the store (a more helpful exercise), or post the most flagrant violations of greenwashing on a “bad” list. They seem very wary of finger-pointing. I think ulterior motives are definitely present due to the kind rhetoric they use with respect to chemical companies that are untruthful about their chemical products.

    4.) Greenwashing is definitely present in my future career from a personal standpoint and from a professional standpoint. If I am going to make a conscious effort to buy products that are less toxic and more easily biodegradable, then I want products that actually meet that criteria (not products that claim to meet that criteria). It could be dangerous for children to be around chemicals that were bought in good faith, but are actually a huge scam. In my professional life, Greenwashing is an issue because it is actionable in the court of law. I’m not sure exactly what sort of environmental law I will be practicing, but cases have been brought to court on claims of fraud via greenwashing. Needless to say, these claims are hard to prove in court. I think you have to have evidence of known wrongdoing.

    5.) Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (lavender)
    Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All-Purpose Cleaner
    Tresemme “Naturals” Shampoo

    6.)Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps: I’m pretty sure that claiming soap is “magic” is unsubstantiated. This could be an instance of the “no proof” sin. The label claims to be “Certified Fair Trade” and has the valid insignia, so I think this claim is kosher. The label also claims to be “made with organic oils” and points out on the label which oils are organic. The soap is also “Oregon Tilth Certified Organic.” I have no idea what this means. While I don’t think this is a fake third party endorsement, the Oregon Tilth verification seems odd.

    Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All-Purpose Cleaner: I find it interesting that the label is “Mrs. Meyer’s,” so maybe I trust it more because she’s married? Or maybe this Mrs. Meyer seems like a trustworthy source of wholesome chemicals? This label is green in color and claims to be “cruelty free” meaning, it is not tested on animals. The chemical is biodegradable, which I think is very important, and the bottle is made with 25% recycled plastic. The ingredients are 98% “naturally derived” which is in violation of the “vagueness” sin. Almost everything around us is naturally derived. I’m not really sure what naturally derived even means. Some of these ingredients have pretty long names, so I’m not sure just how “natural” they really are. I’ve never seen them on the periodic table of elements.

    Tresemme “Naturals” Shampoo: This product has greenwashing written all over it. Fist of all, the bottle has a picture of a leaf on it and claims to have “new Lower Sulfates.” There really isn’t a need for sulfates to begin with, and even though there are lower amounts of sulfates in this shampoo (compared to their other shampoos) two Lauryl/laureth sulfates are the second and third ingredients! Since the ingredient list is usually done by volume, there are still a ton of sulfates in my shampoo! I believe this falls under the “lesser of two evils” sin. There are also”USDA Certified Organic Aloe and Avocado Oils,” but there is no USDA Certified Organic insignia. This could be a violation of the “worshiping false labels” sin, they may be making a fake third party endorsement. The label also says it has no dyes and is hypoallergenic. After reading that my cleaner was biodegradable, I’m a little shocked that my shampoo is not biodegradable.

    7.) I feel comfortable with my first two items: the soap and the all-purpose cleaner. My shampoo, however, is out. I went to the store this week and bought other shampoo that has a much less attractive label, but is much more valid. Made by ‘Nature’s Gate,’ I think my new shampoo is much less deceitful.

  14. Cameron Gordon says:

    1) Yep.

    2) I scored a sixty percent on the quiz, some of the questions were tricky which I think highlights how murky of an issue greenwashing can be. A couple of the questions seemed to be splitting hairs. I was also surprised at some of the false-labels as well, some of them seemed pretty legitimate.

    3) seems to be a good site with reliable sources of information. The report clarified some of the major issues in household products with respect to greenwashing. The dissemination of statistical information and specific knowledge of what types of products tend to be greenwashed seems like good science to me. When I read into it a little further though, the website seemed to back certain types of green certification programs more than others, giving off an air of favoritism to those companies. While I don’t think this changes the validity of their report, it raises the issue of who actually benefits from these types of programs other than the consumer.

    4) Although currently undecided in regards to my career, greenwashing will become an ever more prevalent issue for all career fields as the sustainability and environmental movements gain steam. Regardless of whatever field we choose to enter, claims for greener products whether they be construction materials, household goods, fashion materials, or generalized industrial processes – I think it is important to keep a critical eye for potential greenwashing in any and all types of careers in order to properly promulgate sustainability.

    Palmolive Pure & Clear: claims to be free of unnecessary chemicals. This product contains an EPA seal for better chemistry which checks out on the EPA website; additionally the bottle is made of 40% recycled plastic. With no evidence of greenwashing, this gets my seal of approval.

    Celestial Seasonings Tea: This tea in addition to being delicious claims to made from 100% recycled materials with 35% from post-consumer content. it sports a seal for “ethical trade” for which I could not find an exact copy online, and as such it falls prey to false labeling. While I believe recycled materials are all well and good, I did become a bit miffed when I could not find a correct version of their seal.

    Caribou Coffee: This coffee container had a dubious looking “rainforest alliance” certified seal in a addition to fair trade certified one. After some research the rainforest alliance organization checks out for sustainable agricultural practices while fair trade supports social equity and sustainable practices. While coffee may not be the greenest product on the market, this brand seems to do its fair share for the environment.

  15. Briana Martinez says:

    2. I got a 100% on the quiz!! I thought it was rather easy to spot the labels that were fake.
    3. I trust the website. After reviewing the website and reading various parts, I did not see any evidence of product suggestion or bad mouthing. The website appeared to have a purpose of getting information out to inform consumers. The organization has plenty of opportunities to “blast” companies or even be really descriptive with product categories, for the most part; they tended to pretty vague, and appeared to be more concerned with educating the public. I did not feel they had ulterior motives.
    4. I think green washing is already present in my future career. With the sustainable movement, you have seen a push for designers, companies, etc. to become “green” in fashion. Some are doing it right such as the video you showed us earlier of your idol designer and others aren’t. For instance, bamboo has seen a larger surge in the marketplace, and most of us think bamboo must be ecofriendly it’s from a plant, but to make bamboo a fiber, a lot of very toxic chemicals must be used. There is also the organic cotton which cycles in debate on whether it is really organic since what makes something organic in a fiber form is not high regulated yet as organic cotton still uses chemicals just not as many as regular cotton, but the consumers do not know this they assume it is completely chemical free since its “organic”.
    5. soymilk-“organic”; Palmolive dishwasher detergent-“eco”; purex detergent-“post-consumer recycled material”
    Soymilk: I didn’t find any proof of green washing. They were very clear on what was organic and how it was made via the ingredient list and had the USDA certification label on it as well
    Palmolive: sin of no proof, sin of vagueness; it just has an eco-label on it leaves to make one assume the product is environmentally sound. It does say that it is phosphate free, but does not really tell you exactly how that in harmful to lakes and streams. I just feel that it was kind of vague nor was it backed by any organization, but it did showcase a symbol as if it was
    Purex: sin of no proof, sin of vagueness, sin of false labels; it provided no proof as to what type or where the recycled material came from. It also was not
    7. I honestly did not have many green products in my apt the ones I do have, I bought them from different reason. I like the soymilk and it just happens to be organic; I didn’t buy it because it was. The Purex I buy for hypoallergenic reason and the Palmolive is cheaper than regular dishwasher detergent. I do feel though that the next time I am searching to buy an item that is “green” with that being my purpose I will be more inclined to critically inspect the product to make sure I am really getting something legit and not just a marketing scheme.

  16. Samantha Morton says:

    I got a seven out of ten on the “Name that Sin” quiz. I do trust this website because I’m not sure I understand what motives they would have for uncovering green washing, if they too were culprits of misleading consumers. I would love to say my future career will be safe from this green washing sin, however, I am sure I will come in contact with it at some point. As an environmental economist my major has somewhat conflicting interests. The economics side focuses on maximizing efficiency, productivity, and most importantly the bottom line. In the past, companies trying to cut costs were compelled to pollution- dumping their effluence in the river behind their factory. To increase revenue I can see companies cutting corners (like getting certified) and just cheating the system by falsely advertising a greener product. That being said, the other half of my major, the word “Environmental” gives me some faith that I will be part of bringing/upholding standards into the market-trying to combat those still solely focused on the bottom line.
    In my parents house back in Atlanta we recently (within the last 4 years) purchased a new washer and dryer that is Energy Star rated and uses considerably less water than conventional machines. On the shelf above the washer and dryer I made my mom buy Seventh Generation detergent. Target carries this brand, I think it might even be their own brand, of cleaning supplies that are more eco-friendly. Finally, my mom has a pair of Dansko shoes she wears to work everyday. I know as a company Dansko takes several measures to reduce their footprint.
    So it turns out that Seventh Generation is in fact, NOT Target’s brand, they just sell their products there. Seventh Generation products are sold at tons of retailers like Publix, Kroger, and Wal-Mart. They were founded in 1988 in Burlington, Vermont and remain to be an indepent, privately-held company! Phewf! They even post sustainability repots on their website documenting with actual examples of how their products are helping to reduce our carbon footprint and produce goods more responsibly.
    Energy Star, is just energy star. No green washing here. They are super established as a trusted certification.
    After some research I found out that Dansko works with a number of non-profits like habitat for Humanity, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, World Vision Shoe Donation, Adopt A Highway, The Land Conservancy, Hybrid.Petal, and several other great organizations.
    I trust Seventh Generation more now that I know its not just some Target gimmicky-brand that is trying to be green trendy.

  17. Laney Haag says:

    2) I got a 6 out of 10 on the Name that Sin game. It was harder than I was expecting to decipher between the different sins.
    3) Yes I trust the website In their about us they state that their clients are Fortune 500 Companies. These companies would not use a marketing and consulting firm that does not have a trustworthy website. Their website is also copyrighted. I doubt a company would have gone through the trouble of getting a copyright if their information was unreliable. After reading through the website I sent my pregnant older sister the Toys and Baby Products section because I thought it could be helpful to her, so clearly I found it trustworthy.
    4) Yes I think greenwashing will be present in my future career. Greenwashing is based on false green marketing claims and advertisements. As a marketing major, greenwashing is sure to come into play since a lot of companies are using environmental/green marketing strategies. As customers continue to express the importance of sustainability I think more and more companies will begin to use environmental marketing.
    5) -Great Value Envelopes
    – Office Depot Brand Copy Paper
    – Silk Soy Milk
    6) The Great Value Envelopes and Office Depot brand copy paper are both certified by the Sustainable Forest Industry. After looking through the SFI website I think it is a pretty trustworthy certification system. I do not think the envelopes are guilty of greenwashing. On the other hand, I think the paper is guilty of the hidden trade off sin. The Sins of Greenwashing website explains, “Paper, for example, is not necessarily environmentally-preferable just because it comes from a sustainably-harvested forest. Other important environmental issues in the paper-making process, such as greenhouse gas emissions, or chlorine use in bleaching may be equally important”. As for the Silk Soy Milk I could not find any sins of greenwashing they were guilty of.
    7) My feelings towards these 3 products have not changed much since I looked into whether or not they were guilty of greenwashing. Even though the copy paper is guilty of one of the sins I am still going to need to use it. Since most of my notes for classes, syllabuses, practice problems, etc. it is nearly impossible for me to not use paper. I try to use the least amount possible and print double sided. I will continue to use the Soy Milk and envelopes.

  18. Clair McClure says:

    1) Take the “Play Name that Sin” Game on this page Play Name That Sin
    2) I got 6 out of 10 correct
    3) I found the website very informative and it does seem like a good watch dog organization. From the information I read through it appears that this organization is set in place to educate people about greenwashing, its concept, and what to look for when purchasing products. I liked that the website does not report specifically which products are committing the worst sins and which are doing better. In this it seems that their main motivation really is to educate individuals and allow them to make their own decisions when purchasing products as well as hold companies accountable for the green labeling they use.
    4) I am not sure if greenwashing will be particularly present in my future career as a professor but I am sure it will be in my future life as I come into a time where I am making large purchases in relation to a home as well as making safe purchases for my husband and future children. One thing I have noticed in my research with fair trade products is there is a tendency to “greenwash” these. Many fair trade products can claim to be fair trade by simply putting those words on the front of the item but with no backing from a third party organization like the WFTO.
    5) Palmolive eco+
    Pureology shampoo and conditioner
    Energy Star washer and dryer
    6) Palmolive: states it is formulated to reduce the harm posed by phosphate in waterways, it states it is phosphate free being friendly to lakes and streams while still providing powerful cleaning performance. It appears they are committing the sin of no proof. There is no indication that this claim is backed by any third party organization
    Pureology: states it contains organic botanicals and it is 100% vegan. This also does not have any backing from a third party organization. Sin of no proof.
    Washer and dryer: as far as I can tell these appliances are more energy efficient and I trust the brand to not be making a false claim about their products. Yet I haven’t checked into it very thoroughly so it may in fact be a sin of fibbing or possibly a lack of disclosure, because depending on how often I use the appliance it could be just as inefficient at saving energy.
    For each item selected, now you must investigate that products packaging and identify if it has greenwashing in the label. Tell us, how many of the 7 sins it has committed, and how do you know it has committed these sins?
    7) To be honest I am ok with these products. I did not buy any of them based on the eco friendliness or green labeling. I bought the shampoo and conditioner because the stylist convinced me it would be good for my hair since I color it, she threw in that they were organic and vegan but that didn’t make a difference in my purchasing decision. The Palmolive I bought because it was the cheapest option and the washer and dryer were a wedding gift. It was honestly incredibly hard for me to find three products in my house which had any sort of environmentally friendly or green label, which indicated to me that I obviously do not pay much attention to these labels or seek them out. I am glad to know a little more about greenwashing now. It will most likely encourage me to make more informed decisions and to ask questions about the products I am purchasing.

  19. Maggie Benoit says:

    I got a 6 out of 10 on “name that sin”

    3. SinsofGreenwashing lays a pretty good lay of the land for readers who show interest. Granted, they are only spelling out the tip of the ice burg here, but the points they make lend good insight and statistics that are easy to chew. I like that Terra Choice’s imperative is just that, choice. So, the arenas of involvement lend to constructive pursuits and an idea of growth alongside parties who WANT to be there. They are not shoving anything down anyone’s digestive channel. Also, it is a part of the UL global network, which is a good reinforcement for its mission.

    4. I think this concept is pretty impossible to dodge. I think with anything, we have to be smart consumers – on a retail or wholesale level – on a conceptual level even. We want to know that we are “getting what we pay for” and we’d like to think our sources wouldn’t give us reason to second-guess. Sadly, this is not always the case. Everywhere we turn, we must face questions. Is my shampoo really living up to the promises on its label? It’s kind of a trip that I’ve had to become such a cynic. But the day and age of mass marketing has created an environment where questioning is a necessity. So, be it in my personal life or professional life, I’ll always have to break down the greenwash philosophy in the backdrop of my head. I will always question.

    5. a. Garnier fructis shampoo
    b. Whole Foods reusable grocery bag
    c. Nikken water filter

    6. a. Pure-Clean (
    -“First EVER hair care with green chemistry?! – doubtful
    -“Highest efficiency on hair, lowest impact on the environment”
    -“Zero parabens, silicones and dyes, so you can count on a pure”
    -no proof, vagueness, irrelevance
    b. Whole Foods “a better bag” (
    – “80% recycled, 100% reusable”
    -Testing released Decemebr 2010 (
    c. Nikken Aqua Pour Gravity PiMag Water Purifier (
    From website – “Independent testing, including that performed by public agencies including the United States government, has shown that source water for municipal supplies may present significant amounts of pollutants. Chlorine or ozone added to combat these dangers, are themselves toxic. Reducing the amount of both the contaminants and chlorine can result in water that offers the potential for better health.
    PiMag® Water Technology also possesses advantages over commercially bottled water. An immediately obvious one is cost: the purchase and operation of a PiMag® product, which filters tap water, is an order of magnitude less expensive than the ongoing cost of bottled water — which itself is often nothing more than treated tap water.
    The environmental cost of bottled water is equally formidable. A mountain of discarded, non-biodegradable containers is a potential ecological disaster.
    These plastics may pose a health risk in more ways than their harm to the environment. Certain chemicals in the plastic containers are known to leach into the water these containers hold, especially if the bottles are stored or on shelves for any appreciable length of time. On consuming this water, these chemicals may be absorbed and retained in body tissue. Owning and using a PiMag® water product avoids the potential for harm inherent in the regular consumption of bottled water.”

    7. I bought the Garnier shampoo in a pinch as I had nothing on reserve + made a quick stop into Kroger. With that said, I have an alternative product selection that has been tried and true, so I probably won’t purchase “Pure Clean” again. It’s funny that this sustainability post came about, because I remember thinking when I reached for the bottle on the shelf… “ha, those claims are such a ploy.” I use the Whole Foods bag pretty regularly when I buy groceries + I will keep purifying my water via the filter.

  20. Jim Ace says:

    The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is GREENWASHING, and DC Comics is participating in it. Tell DC Comics to drop SFI greenwash.

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