Well, isn't this a comfort? According to the Wall Street Journal:
"According to a study due out [last] Tuesday, more than 95% of consumer products examined committed at least one offense of 'greenwashing,' a term used to describe unproven environmental claims, according TerraChoice, a North American environmental-marketing company that issued the report."
Although the problem of unsubstantiated "green" claims has abated (ever so slightly) in the past few years, "the problem is still widely prevalent as more manufacturers flood the market with items deemed to be better for the environment. Of particular concern: items proclaiming to be free of controversial chemicals BPA and phthalates—especially baby and toy products, according to the report."
Think that's bad? It gets even worse. According to the article:
"The study examined more than 5,000 consumer products in 34 stores in the U.S. and Canada and found 12,061 'green' claims among them. Among the infractions found: fibbing about or having no proof of environmental claims, vague or poorly defined marketing language, such as 'all-natural,' and the use of fake labels designed to imply a product has third-party certification or endorsement of its claims."
Not only that, but check this out:
"Separately, the report found that the most common examples of outright fibbing came from products falsely claiming to be compliant with the federal government's Energy Star program. The government is tightening its monitoring of such claims."
Okay, so the most egregious lies were perpetrated through claims approved by a federal government certification program. My, that is a comfort. Almost as much a comfort as this:
"The findings come as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which can take action against unfair or deceptive marketing practices, has proposed tightening its guidelines to help marketers avoid making misleading environmental claims. Among the proposals: cautioning marketers not to use 'unqualified certifications or seals of approval' regarding their claims, and not to make blanket, general assertions that a product is 'environmentally friendly' or 'eco-friendly' because such claims are nearly impossible to substantiate."
Uh, yeah. You may recall I blogged about these proposed guidelines. The ones that didn't bother to define "green" or "sustainable." Get the feeling the FTC is getting some comments on that?
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