According to Adam Werbach writing in the Guardian this week,
Greenwashing occurs anytime there is more talking green than doing green by a brand. A brand's marketing of its green aspects should resemble an iceberg: only the tip is visible, but below the water's surface lies the vast majority of the good news. Some marketers greenwash by focusing on an inconsequential environmental feature, like wrapping a steak in a compostable package and calling it "climate-friendly". Other marketers adopt green packaging without changing their behaviours, like Campbell's Soup, which launched an Earth Day green-colored soup can, but didn't bother buying organic chicken or lowering the salt content. At the most basic level, these companies have ignored that sustainability is complex and has four co-equal streams ? social, economic, cultural and environmental. Greenwashers often try to focus on just one of these four pillars, while obscuring the rest.We all know the companies he means. We can think of one in particular. Go to their website and all you'll see are great pics of New Zealand and a load of verbiage about how ethical they are. These are the "ethics" that put thousands out of work and pushed NZ companies out of business when they withdrew production from New Zealand in favour of cheap (in more ways than one) manufacture in China.
You have to dig down very deep to find any mention of the fact that only merino wool comes from NZ (and possibly not all of that), and that all their manufacturing is done in China. No wonder people still believe this company still makes their gear in New Zealand.
Adam Werbach also points out:
There's endless research showing that price remains the most important product feature for consumers. ...consumers continue to flock to cheap clothing that may just last a few washes* instead of paying more for durability. These short-sighted consumption patterns erode value for everyone, business and consumer alike.Readers of Terry Pratchett's "Men at Arms" will be familiar with the the Vimes philosophy of boots. A man earning $38 will pay $10 for a pair of cheap boots that will barely last them a couple of seasons. A good pair of boots will cost $50 but last years. Better therefore to save and buy the better pair as, in the long run, you will pay less for boots and save money.
*BTW, it's a pretty well accepted fact that cheap clothing is deliberately designed to last no more than a few washes, thereby adding not only to the depletion of resources, but the mountains of refuse that's choking the landfill sites.