'Green' labels on products are frequently misleading, as there is no standard practice for issuing such labels By Jagdeep Worah
As the demand for 'green' products that are supposedly free of potentially harmful chemicals grows exponentially, marketers have not been slow to latch on to the trend – labelling products as green even when they are not really so, as several environmental organisations and an increasing number of consumers have been complaining.
A study by Ottawa-based environmental marketing firm TerraChoice released in October last year found that nearly all consumer products labelled 'green' make at least one false, misleading or unproven environmental claim to attract eco-conscious shoppers.
The massive probe of 5,296 products sold in the US and Canada found at least one misleading green claim on 95.6 per cent of the items.
The situation is most dire for children's products, with 100 per cent of toys and 99.2 per cent of other baby products guilty of some form of 'greenwashing' when they make environmental claims.
The researchers did not find a single 'green' toy that was free of greenwashing, and only six of 706 baby products were 'sin-free'.
Greenwashing is the practice act of misleading consumers about the environmental practices of a company, or the environmental benefits of a product or service. And while the use of respected eco-labels helps prevent greenwashing, they don't always eliminate it.