Guest Post: Bret Freedman

Greenwashing. Image courtesy of

The post below is by no means new information, so I apologize if it is repetitive for some people, but I think it’s worth discussing, particularly from this point of view…….

Being conscious is, super super trendy right now.  It’s great and seriously, about time. People everywhere are rethinking everything from the food that they eat to the clothes that they buy and the car that they drive.  It’s wonderful, both for you as an individual, us as a society and the earth we inhabit.

Here’s the thing……. and I say this as a former marketer, with great respect for marketing as a discipline…..a marketers job is to tap into consumer psychology and get their product sold. They know that right now, buzz words for Americans are “Natural” “Green” “Organic” and so on…..that said, it’s important to keep in mind that marketers have a casual relationship with facts (it’s not their job to tell the truth all the time) and for the most part they aren’t regulated by government….– their task is to keep the product’s image fresh and in demand, even if the product itself hasn’t changed.  It’s been called Greenwashing and it’s totally legal – making a product or a brand look like it’s on the green wagon, even if it isn’t.

As the consumer, our job is to be educated and to be responsible for our purchasing habits, we can’t leave this to marketers and we can’t blame them for doing their job, if we aren’t going ours.

Want examples?   Take a walk through your local supermarket…..(which I did this week, thus this post) I was drawn to a bunch of iconic brands with revamped packaging that favored muted, neutral colors, recycled looking cardboard, and lots and lots and lots of the colors brown and green.  When I flipped over the package I saw paragraphs about the brands commitment to the environment and sustainability……then I looked at the ingredients and was jolted back to reality when I saw that the product itself was the same it’s always been.

I silently saluted the marketer who almost had me, and then I trotted back to the natural foods section and got what I came for.

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