TerraChoice recently released a new report, The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition, and published some interesting findings. The company found that big-box retailers stock more "green" products and products with legitimate environmental claims than smaller boutique-style stores. TerraChoice also found that over 95% of consumer products with a "green" claim are committing at least one "sin" of greenwashing.
That's a serious problem, especially considering the seven greenwashing sins: the hidden trade-off, no proof, vagueness, worshipping false labels, irrelevance, fibbing, and the lesser of two evils.
As background for the study, TerraChoice studied 5,296 products in the U.S. and Canada with an environmental claim. The study included consumer electronics, cleaning products, and building and construction products, among others.
However, building and construction products were about five times more likely to be sin-free. The most common sin found in this group was the hidden trade-off, while the most common single-benefit claims relate to air quality, energy, and recycled content.
TerraChoice found about 73% more "green" products on the market today than in 2009, and the overall amount of greenwashing has declined slightly in the same amount of time. In addition, third-party labels help prevent greenwashing, but there's still some problems among certified products.