Friday, September 25, 2009

Green Wash Alert

This is the kind of thing that drives me nuts!!!

The Daily Green has announced today that seven products have received the “Good Housekeeping Green Seal.” What are those products? Aveeno (owned by Johnson and Johnson), GreenWorks (owned by Clorox) and several Nature’s Source products (brought to you by SC Johnson the makers of Scrubbing Bubbles®, Shout® and Windex.)

Not the green products I would choose. None fully disclose their ingredients. They are not from companies that are known for their commitment to the environment. Their ingredient lists are full of chemicals that most of us would want to avoid.

What about the fabulous natural and organics products out there from companies with real earth-friendly credentials? How did these brands get selected? The official explanation reads right out of a “Marketer’s Green Washing Bible”.

But I have a very different theory. The Daily Green (which can be a good source for environmental information) happens to be owned by the Hearst Corporation, which happens to own Good Housekeeping. If you check the list of major advertisers in both Good Housekeeping and other Hearst Corporation publications you will most likely find Johnson and Johnson, Clorox and S C Johnson among them.

The Hearst Corporation does admit that they “are recognizing mainstream products making significant efforts in the right direction." And I suppose “mainstream” companies should get some kudos for identifying the marketing opportunity of a “green brand.” But “efforts in the right direction,” are hardly a substitute for a real commitment to earth-friendly production practices and “truth in labeling” standards.

I hope that most consumers are not fooled by these corporate marketing initiatives. But I know that many people, grasping for any information about the green merits of a product will be swayed by this kind of nonsense. I hope that my consultants and others truly committed to sharing information on reading labels and getting past the marketing fluff will make a dent in these multi-million dollar marketing campaigns.

The Daily Green lost some credibility with me today.

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