Friday, February 4, 2011

Definition Day: Greenwashing

FALL- Red Hydrant Press

Greenwashing. I myself am guilty of using this jargon. I have been known, in my lesser moments, to yell the word at TV commercials. But what does 'greenwashing' mean? Washing your clothes in natural detergents? If only!

green·wash, noun: A superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is shown by an organization; the practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs to deflect attention from an organization's environmentally unfriendly or less savory activities [1].

I'll break it down for ('environmentally friendly') + washing (from 'white washing', meaning to conceal flaws)

For example, fictitious company X tells you "We've reduced our packaging because we care about the environment. A smaller package size means more of our product can fit on one truck, reducing carbon emissions" Yay! Insert picture here of sun shining, some lovely trees, and a happy squirrel.

What company X didn't tell you is that their product contains several toxic while reduced packaging is nice, the product certainly isn't green.

There is an excellent podcast about green marketing on the CBC radio show The Age of Persuasion. It has some real examples of companies using greenwashing (I didn't want to get in trouble). It's straight forward with clear definitions and examples and I found it fascinating. Check it out!

Thank you to Alynn of Red Hydrant Press for the use of the limited edition linoleum print 'FALL'. You can purchase FALL and other fine prints on Red Hydrant Press' online shop.

[1], 2011. Greenwashing. Accessed on February 4, 2011 from:

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