This blog post was written by GreenCupboards.
The popularity of the environmental movement spiked several years ago as people’s desire to sustain our planet was at an all time high. Many attribute the spike in popularity to Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth, as well as the several studies that were published pointing to humans as a cause for a majority of environmental problems facing our world. This ignited people around the globe to be more active in pursuing the environmental agenda and be more conscious of their personal impact on the world.
Like most things in life, there always tends to be a downside to every positive. All of a sudden, there was a flood of consumer products on the market claiming to be the “best” for the environment. Some people and companies saw the general population’s interest in Mother Nature as a way to make a profit. This marketing tactic is known as greenwashing–a technique used by corporations to create the illusion that a product has environmental values, when really it is just a marketing ploy.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a leader in environmental studies, warns products marked “natural” may still contain toxic ingredients. According to the EWG, greenwashing is most prevalent in cleaning products, as there are no federal regulations requiring companies to list the ingredients used to make those products. Information is power. GreenCupboards thwarts greenwashing by providing shoppers with enough details about products in order to make informed purchasing decisions. To truly make an informed decision GreenCupboards believes shoppers should know three things:
• What is inside the product?
• How it is made?
• Where is it made?
To help shoppers with their purchasing decisions, GreenCupboards has identified 24 Eco-Traits for easy access to important product qualifications. Our Eco-Traits are unique icons that provide customers with an overview of why a product is environmentally nurturing. Some of our Eco-Traits reach a broad spectrum (organic or vegan) while others are more specific (GMO free or biodegradable). Every product description listed on GreenCupboards also has special ‘what makes it green‘ section which summarizes the product’s environmental value. In this section you will also learn how a product is manufactured. GreenCupboards also has a special Shop Local feature, which is an interactive map that allows shoppers to explore by community, state and region to learn more about the businesses in their backyard. This allows shoppers to know exactly where the products they purchase are coming from.
Greenwashing does have a silver lining as it has created more conscious consumers who are holding manufactures and retailers accountable. Front label, big text markings can be misleading. Federal regulations don’t require manufacturers to be forthright about what goes into their merchandise for all types of products. Things that people use on an everyday basis are often the most detrimental to our environment. In our market, it is up to the eco-conscious consumer to research and determine what products are best and “greenest.” Make sure you don’t believe products for their face value and remember to “do your homework” for the things you buy.