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The Red Flags of Greenwashing

April 15, 2009

TORONTO (16/04/09) — The public is bombarded with green marketing messages everyday. From eco-lighters to laundry detergent with 40% less water, corporations are rebranding themselves as environmental leaders across the board. But buyer beware, many products have far less of a positive impact on the environment than marketing campaigns suggest. To help Canadians see through the smoke and mirrors, Earth Day Canada is encouraging consumers to internalize the Red Flags of Greenwashing and recognize the difference between green products and green marketing campaigns.

"Consumers need to be educated to the practice of greenwashing," says Jed Goldberg, President of Earth Day Canada. "The environment is a serious issue for Canadians, yet corporations cannot resist the opportunity to promote their products as `environmentally friendly′, position themselves as `environmental leaders′ and maximize profits in the process. In most cases, these products do nothing to support a healthier environment, confuse consumers and damage the environmental movement."

Earth Day Canada′s Red Flags of Greenwashing

1. No proof claims – A food producer claims their products are organic, but provides no third party accreditation as proof.

2. Vague claims – A lighter manufacturer produces an `eco-lighter′ and positions the product as being `environmentally friendly′, but provides no further explanation or product information.

3. Irrelevant claims – A new aerosol product claims to be CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) free, a chemical banned over 30 years ago as it depletes the ozone.

4. Confusing claims – A paper towel producer modifies their product to become more `eco-friendly′, but only change how the product is presented, not the manufacturing process or the materials used to develop the product.

5. The cloaking effect – A coffee house brands their disposable and recyclable coffee cup as the `eco-cup′, masking an environmentally unfriendly product with a green name.

For more information greenwashing and how Canadians can reduce their impact on the environment, visit

About Earth Day Canada
Earth Day Canada (EDC), a national environmental charity founded in 1990, provides Canadians with the practical knowledge and tools they need to lessen their impact on the environment. In 2004 it was recognized as the top environmental education organization in North America, for its innovative year-round programs and educational resources, by the Washington-based North American Association for Environmental Education, the world's largest association of environmental educators. In 2008 it was chosen as Canada′s "Outstanding Non-profit Organization" by the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication. EDC regularly partners with thousands of organizations in all parts of Canada.


For more information contact:
Keith Treffry
Communications Director
Earth Day Canada
Phone: 416.599.1991 x 107

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