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“Greenwashing” - What is it and how to avoid it

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Green is Hot!

Everyone knows that the hottest word in the building industry is green which is often used in a phrase such as building green, a green project or a green product.  What does green mean?  The term green can be defined many ways but should be defined to closely exemplify “a consideration for the environment”.  So, what about any phrase with green in it, wouldn’t that be a good thing to consider, the environment?  Absolutely, if its green-ness can be proven.

Beware of Green

The number of items that are considered green are inumerable and so are the entrepeneurs trying to benefit from the latest industry movement.  I do not have a problem with entrepeneurs, companies, or anyone that is considering being green for the right reasons, but it is just a fact that many people are only looking at being green because of the potential for monetary gain.  There is a term called greenwashing and this term usually signifies something that is far from being considered green.  In short, greenwashing is labeling something green when in fact it is really not, or it may be a little green but significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green than the consideration for the environment.  So, how do you know which things are really considered green and how not to be greenwashed?  Can one actually prove that a product lives up to its green representation?  It is not as hard as one might think.

What to watch out for with regards to possible Greenwashing

(my summary of the top five items listed on various website sources)

  1. Hidden trade offs - when something may be good for the environment but there are hidden trade offs that are more harmful than the good that exists.
  2. No proof or certification - when there is no proof or certification backing up the environmental benefits.
  3. Intentional vagueness - when information has intenionally be left out because the truth about the claim would degrade the “green-ness” of the item . 
  4. Irrelevance - when a claim for the good of the environment is made but it is irrelevant because it HAS to be due to environmental or other regulations, etc.
  5. Intentional deception - when something is claiming to be Internationally or Nationally recognized or certified to a certain standard but it has no such certification nor meets any such standard.

Final Common Sense Tips

  • Be suspicious of all environmental claims unless you have verified them.
  • Look out for poor use of scientific facts, especially when listening to politicians: “Reducing carbon emissions will protect the ozone layer”, “emissions can be offset”, “the greenhouse effect is not certain” etc.
  • Look out for buzzwords that put a gloss on reality: ”carbon intensity”, “sustainable development”, “carbon offsets”, “clean technology” etc.  Buzzwords usually are in place to pull your attention away from something that is being covered up.
  • Environmentally friendlydoes not necessarily mean it is good for the environment.
  • Use your common sense and your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t.

Is Turnage Company a Green Company?

The Turnage Company does not want to have the word green attached to our company name because of the reasons outlined above, but the Turnage Company does support, recommend, and provides products and services that are considered green or “good for the environment“.  We not only focus on the outdoor environment but also the indoor environment such as overall air quality, humidity control, and energy efficiency.  Our focus in this area provides you with a home environment that is MUCH HEALTHIER for everyone.  At the Turnage Company, doing things that are good for our client’s environment (home and business) is nothing new for us.  We have been providing healthy and energy efficient suggestions, products, and services for years now  (e.g. un-vented attics, spray foam insulation, sealed crawlspaces, energy efficient appliances and equipment, dehumidification, low-e glass, etc.).

If you would like to know what options you have to create a healthier environment in and around your home or business, please contact us for more information.

Turnage Company Jacksonville Florida
Turnage Company Jacksonville Florida