The Greenwash Brigade

"Up to 70% recycled content"

Janne K. Flisrand Jul 24, 2008

Thanks to Corporate Climate Response News, I learned that the FTC is still on the trail of greenwashing, and heard about a stellar example of greenwashing from Vice President Frank Hurd of the Carpet and Rug Institute, which certifies Green Label and Green Label Plus carpets.

He described one carpet manufacturer (not a CRI member) who advertised their carpet as including “Up to 70 percent recycled content.” Of course, that label is technically and legally accurate on carpet that has recycled content anywhere between zero percent and 70 percent. A good marketing department will make sure that the “up to” is in very tiny type, and “70 percent recycled content” is very large… and all but the most careful consumer will give them credit for 70.

Brigadiers weighed in before the first of the FTC workshops which addressed carbon offsetting.

Now the FTC workshops are complete, and they say there will be new Green Guides, probably in 2009.

I’m anxious to find out whether they will be meaningful and what they will address. I hope they’ll be published before Americans are tired of “green” in all its untrustworthy forms and shift interest to something else.

Tell us your thoughts: What aspects of green marketing most need FTC guidance? Carbon offsets? Green building? Corporate sustainability reporting? What sorts of guidelines would be most useful?

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