Friday, September 19, 2008

Greenwashing and the Economics of Eco-Friendly Products

Today I'm proud to introduce this blogs first guest post from Kelly Kilpatrick:

Over the last few years, the public’s environmental consciousness has grown by leaps and bounds in response to several different factors. With the rising price of oil and an increasing amount of evidence in the case for global warming, people are seeking out alternatives to traditional products in order to minimize their personal impact on the environment, while improving their health and the health of others around them in the process.

For quite some time, organic and eco-friendly products have been on the market, but now, more than ever, companies are moving toward “greenifying” their business models. This can help or hurt the company, depending on their motive for making these changes.

Greenwashing is a term used by consumers who believe they are being misled by companies who advertise themselves as green for the wrong reasons. For example, some companies are simply making changes to their public image and using green rhetoric to win over consumers. With information available at the click of a mouse, consumers find out quickly whether or not said company is green for the revenue it generates, or for loftier, more socially-conscious reasons.

In an article entitled “The Six Sins of Greenwashing,” a study found that of over 1,500 products surveyed, 99% of them were guilty of greenwashing. This is a disturbing trend in marketing, where large companies are trying to capitalize of the green market, all the while doing nothing to really help with their part of the problem.

With the demand for organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly products constantly increasing, companies that truly do care are struggling to maintain their hold on the market. Consumers that want to support companies that are environmentally conscious are going to need to do their homework.

Unfortunately for consumers and the environment alike, big business is beginning to threaten a niche market whose intentions were good. For more information on greenwashing and the top offenders, click here.

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of the best online degrees. She invites your feedback at


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