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What does "greenwashing" mean?

Written by Billie Carroll
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When a company, government or other group promotes green-based environmental initiatives or images but actually operates in a way that is damaging to the environment or in an opposite manner to the goal of the announced initiatives. This can also include misleading customers about the environmental benefits of a product through misleading advertising and unsubstantiated claims.

Additional resources:

  • A more detailed definition, including "Rough rules of thumb for detecting greenwash" from SourceWatch.
  • A BC example of greenwashing:
    BC Citizens for Green Energy (BCCGE) was created in British Columbia to promote 'green energy.' While the group asserts they are a grassroots organization, spokespersons are current and former BC Liberal Party activists as well as some of the volunteer board. The group promotes the Liberal government's electricity privatization policy under the guise of being a 'grassroots' organization. In press releases and letters to the editors went to many papers around the province the group attacks proponents of public power and argues that private power generation is cheaper than public. This is despite the fact that publicly delivered electricity from BC Hydro is among the cheapest in North America. See more details in this article in The TyeeWho's Behind 'BC Citizens For Green Energy'?
  • How to spot greenwash, from  Unsuitablog.
Last modified on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 20:06

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