Marketing and greenwashing, and learning to tell the difference
The video below is a brief look at a Climate One discussion hosted by the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Speakers include Dara O’Rourke, Co-Founder of GoodGuide.com, William Brent, Executive VP, Energy, Cleantech and sustainability at Weber Shandwick and Aron Cramer, President and CEO at BSR.
Among the key points in the discussion is how to connect what consumers say they value vs. what they do (75 percent of those surveyed say they want green products, but only 1 percent or less actually consider green labeled products in their purchasing decision). Part of the problem may be in the word “green” and the labeling on products. When a hybrid Lexus gets less gas mileage than the non-hybrid version, consumer’s are understandably skeptical and confused.
As Cramer point out:
“If it’s not simple and easy, it’s not going to connect.”
But it still must be accurate. To understand critical material impacts “you need real science,” says GoodGuide’s O’Rourke.
Perhaps staying ahead of the greenwashing curve requires a realistic view of the modern consumer society in which we all live and participate. This can start with our language: “greener” instead of “green,”more sustainable” instead of “sustainable.”