Greenwashing: Cleaning up by ‘saving the world' | Marketing Mag
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The spring 25, 2013 | Rebecca Harris | Comments
Greenwashing: Cleaning up simply by ‘saving the world'
This an excerpt from our Apr 22 issue
Skepticism is definitely on the rise, nevertheless marketers continue to play grubby
05/05/2013 4: 19 PM
Greenwashing: Cleaning up by ‘saving the world' | Promoting Magazine
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Whilst every merchandise has some effect on the environment, people have become more considering purchases that cause as little harm as is feasible. Consumer packaged goods companies, seeing green themselves (cha-ching! ), possess responded to the trend with a fast-to-market fervor not really seen considering that the discovery that Aqua Net was burning up a gap in the ozone and everyone took on hairspray pushes.
But since we've acquired green goods, we've experienced greenwashing, and little is being done to battle it. To start, there are simply no laws especially governing green claims. Government, the Competition Bureau and the Canadian Standards Connection developed green guidelines named " Environmental Claims: Helpful information for Sector and Advertisers” in 2008. While the guidelines are ultimately helpful, in the event that not a small unwieldy, compliance is voluntary. The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, Fabric Labelling Work and Competition Act—which cover false or perhaps misleading representations and deceitful marketing practices—can be applied to green marketing, although enforcement about this front can be lax. Marketing lawyers declare budgetary limitations are to fault and the Competition Bureau have not made this an enforcement priority. The result is a Wild Western of green marketing, exactly where companies are leaving with unsubstantiated, vague, deceptive or overall false green claims.
05/05/2013 4: 19 PM
Greenwashing: Cleaning up simply by ‘saving the world' | Marketing Mag
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But if and when the Competition Bureau decides to put green advertising on the enforcement agenda, firms could be in for some big fines: last year, the Competition Take action was amended, increasing fines for deceptive marketing to up to $12 million.
" The Competition Bureau has definitely pursued that fine against a number of high-profile corporations, mostly in the area of selling price advertising, yet it's in the end the same legal basis, ” says Philip Oates, a Toronto-based affiliate at Gowlings, a law firm. " So it's not really inconceivable which the Bureau may choose to goal very fancy environmental promises with similarly harsh penalties. ”
Eileen Kilby, a co-employee at Toronto law firm Stikeman Elliott, says while the business community has absorbed the voluntary green guidelines to some extent, " there hasn't been that big precedent-setting case that truly sets the tone in the industry. ” However knowing the approach the Competition Bureau works, that " may well focus on ads or procedures that seem particularly problematic and try to send out a message with one or two instances, which in their particular world may have the effect of disciplining a number of other companies. ”
If multimillion dollar penalties weren't enough incentive to experience a clean game, increasing consumer skepticism may be. This season, the number of " greener” items on the market canada and the U. S. travelled up by 73%, to more than some, 700 in comparison to 2009, according to TerraChoice's most recent " Sins of Greenwashing” record. But a survey by simply BrandSpark International found that 60% of Canadian customers believe environmentally friendly claims tend to be exaggerated or perhaps misleading. " The advantage that the company was hoping to gain by identifying environmental features is no longer generally there if the client doesn't believe that them, ” says Nancy Wright, vice-president of marketing by Vancouver-based World Group, which will...