Marketing Green Or Greenwashing: Clorox

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Clorox Green Works – natural and biodegradable cleaning wipes. This is where I get confused as to what is greenwashing and what is not. Certainly it’s a form of manipulative advertising. We see in the ad that it says these cleaning wipes are 99% natural and biodegradable, which if that is true, is pretty stinking cool. The Ecollo blog seems to think Clorox is doing something special. If they are actually making some major improvements, is it wrong to put their plastic bottle in the middle of a grassy, green photo with flowers and sunshine? Is it okay to use words like “naturally?” I’m not sure, but it all seems like manipulative marketing anyway. The caption reads, “Just what the world needs. Another cleaning product…Actually they’re exactly what the world needs.”  What do you all think?

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  1. I think it is a good idea what they are doing…if Clorox did nothing to addres the environment and the chemicals in cleaning products, we would complain about that. too So it’s in a plastc bottle, could the bottle be made of recycled materials? We can each do a part to help the environment, so their ad campaign is not perfect but it’s something.

  2. I am not sure it is ‘just what the world needs’? yet another cleaning product when bicarbonate of soda and vinegar & a washable cloth cleans the house far more cheaply and safely than the company in your photo. I can smell the fresh cut grass and greenwashing!

  3. It is not what the world needs… no one is monitoring these statements by Clorox that says \99% biodegradable\ and it’s their own company calling themselves green.
    They hide the names of their ingredients to trick people who don’t understand chemicals…. they’re one of the worst green washers on the market.

  4. It’s a bit worrying that the statements these companies make about their products are not monitored that well. If it was that green, surely it would sell by itself and they wouldn’t need to put the container in a lovely lush green field to push the image a little more? I always wonder about the other 1% as well, when something is 99% this or that.

  5. So it’s in a plastic bottle, could the bottle be made of recycled materials? We can each do a part to help the environment. If it was that green, surely it would sell by itself and they wouldn’t need to put the container in a lovely lush green field to push the image a little more.

  6. Full disclosure — I am a Clorox scientist.

    “…[N]o one is monitoring these statements by Clorox that says \99% biodegradable\ and it’s their own company calling themselves green.”

    Not true. Since Matt’s post, the Natural Products Association has certified many of our products (more certifications to come), while no other company (even the alleged “green” ones) has yet attained their standard. BTW, our products aimed for and reached that standard from the time of their launch (it takes time to get the certification).

    “They hide the names of their ingredients to trick people who don’t understand chemicals….” Check out our website, “Ingredients Inside”, and I think you’ll see that we are quite transparent.

    “… one of the worst green washers on the market”? All I can say is that you might want to check out the ingredients before repeating that. We can back up what we say… ’nuff said!

  7. Green Works line meets the EPA’s “Design for the Environment” standards (their toughest safety standards). It also received Natural Products Association’s Natural Home Care seal.
    and their packaging is made from 25% post consumer recycled plastic. Id say a good start for the corporate conglomerate. Its not that misleading, and their efforts are pretty transparent

  8. If it was that green, surely it would sell by itself and they wouldn’t need to put the container in a lovely lush green field to push the image a little more. I can smell the fresh cut grass and green washing.

  9. First time visitor to your blog : )

    This is such a difficult discussion – I am in the Shipping Container Homes business and we have been getting a flood of people entering the market will all manner of questionable practices, not the least of which is creating solution in China and importing into the USA.

    I am sure there are 1000’s of examples of these practices, hence the blog right ?

    Anyway a new area for me and I appreciate the information, explanation on your site.

    Victor

  10. Victor – thanks for the comment and for stopping by. I’m interesting in what you see in your business. Feel free to comment whenever something here sparks a thought or insight!

  11. Thanks for the interest I guess my pet concern is the trend of high profile firms using brand new, made for purpose – custom sized containers in China for Shipping Container Home and Commercial projects.

    So what is the point ? On one one level I understand why they do it – its a lot less work than “upcycling” an old container, all the sandblasting and repairs and painting it works out a lot cheaper to simply buy a new container but the intent was to use this unwanted resource for some higher purpose and now we just order more of them ?

    Making more of them in China and then dragging them to the US or the UK for housing is criminal in my mind, there need to be some sort of financial disincentive.

    Anywho….

  12. That was a fantastic idea. It’s a bit worrying that the statements these companies make about their products are not monitored that well. If it was that green, surely it would sell by itself and they wouldn’t need to put the container in a lovely lush green field to push the image a little more. Thank you.

  13. It’s a bit worrying that the statements these companies make about their products are not monitored that well. If it was that green, surely it would sell by itself and they wouldn’t need to put the container in a lovely lush green field to push the image a little more. Thank you for the idea.

  14. I don’t care what clorex puts on their packaging, there’s no way bleach could ever be environmentally friendly. If it can burn the skin off your hands due to prolonged exposure it can’t be eco-friendly!