Eco-conscious customers who flock to one Washington store say they have chosen the environmentally friendly living shop because they know they are in little danger of being “greenwashed,” according to a newswire story from Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“I can give you a ton of words that mean absolutely, positively nothing,” said Daniel Velez, owner of Greater Goods, where the shelves are stocked only after careful, painstaking research. “The word natural. The word earth-friendly. It means nothing since it’s not legally defined. Biodegradable, except in California, doesn’t actually carry any weight of law.”
The article identifies the lack of legal requirements companies must follow when marketing products as “green” or “sustainable.”
“Today it suffices to just slap some green paint on a product to call it green,” Bernard Caron, director of marketing for the Belgian company Ecover, told AFP. Ecover, a long-time international leader in ecologically safe cleaning products, has rejected the European Commission‘s “Ecolabel” since Ecover believes the voluntary environmental certification standards are not sufficiently stringent.
“Many American consumers, even in the face of economic uncertainty, express a willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly products,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of Yale Project on Climate Change.
The best thing consumers can do is read the fine print, and try to decipher the specifics behind a product’s “green” label.