Green is the New Black

With green as the new black, will the fashion police be able to keep up?

What is Green Washing?  Simply put it is the misleading/untrue statements to suggest a product is of some benefit or reduced impact to the environment.  Much like a light beer being marketed to athletes or a smoothie loaded down with high fructose corn syrup; the benefits are not there when you scratch below the surface.

A 1990 study by the Federal Trade Commission found that the buzz words “environmentally friendly”, “ozone friendly” and “degradable” have no scientific basis.  They also lay out guidelines for proper truth in advertising when referencing your environmental claims.  They are:

  • Environmental claims should be as specific as possible, not general, vague, incomplete or overly broad.
  • Environmental claims relating to disposability (e.g., “degradable” or “recyclable”) should not be made unless the advertised disposal option is currently available to consumers in the area in which the product is sold and the product complies with the requirements of the relevant waste disposal programs.
  • Environmental claims should be substantive.
  • Environmental claims should, of course, be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Better World Books recognizes these trends in Green Marketing.  Green Washing has pervaded the industry so much that consumers are growing skeptical of any claims that aren’t substantiated.  That’s why we are working to publish a report that will detail exactly what environmentally sustainable choices we have made to lessen our overall impact.  We are sure that we are environmentally responsible but would like to assess the true impact of the choices we have made to determine what we can do in the pursuit of a certifiable environmentally sustainable business model.  Stay tuned for more updates as we have already collected a wealth of sources and data to begin the assessment.  We will definitely provide updates through one or more of our external communications (i.e. blog, newsletter, website).

One Comment

  1. Better World books is as much of a greenwasher as anyone. Look at the top of this page: “X millions of books saved from landfills”. At best, BWB saves books from being recycled and offers them for another user. The greatest source of BWB’s inventory comes from library withdrawals, which are universally recycled now. As often as not BWB books are diverted from local resellers and trucked to a central location. The shipping carbon offsets offered by BWB, at the buyer’s expense, cover the shipping from Indiana to the buyer, not the extra shipping from the local location to the central warehouse, or the shipping of books that BWB ends up pulping, that could have been pulped locally. Please examine BWB’s process. The first to cry out “greenwasher” is not necessarily the one without fault.

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