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Salt Lake business warns of ‘green washing'

Salt Lake business warns of ‘green washing'



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Becky Bruce reportingGreen may be the new black, but a Salt Lake County firm hopes to put a stop to what it calls "green washing."

Some businesses see being eco-friendly as a way to attract customers, so much so they're willing to pretend to be green. "Basically it's just, it's really false advertising," said Holly Caughron, president and CEO of Green Rising Marketing.

It's called "green washing," and Caughron is educating people about it today at Tracy Aviary.

She says look at the label and ask: is the claim backed up? "Those certifications are invaluable to a consumer to really have a third-party designation that they can trust, to, at a glance, know what a product is about," she said.

Caughron says there are "six sins of green washing" that consumers and businesses can look for to spot the phony green.

1.The sin of hidden trade-off.
Example: The paper is recycled, but in the process of getting it to you, we cut down a virgin rain forest.

2. The sin of no proof.
Example: The bottle says it's antibiotic-free milk, but there's no proof on the label.

3. The sin of vagueness.
Example: The label says "environmentally friendly," but doesn't tell you how.

4. The sin of irrelevance.
Example: The product says it's CFC-free. Turns out, the government banned CFCs years ago and all products have to be CFC-free.

5. The sin of fibbing.
Example: It says it's certified organic, but it's actually not certified by anyone at all.

6. The sin of the lesser of two evils.
Example: A product of questionable benefit to the environment that claims to be green. For example, organic cigarettes--wouldn't not smoking be more environmentally friendly?

You can find more information about "green washing" and those six sins on Caughron's Web site. Just click the related link.

E-mail: bbruce@ksl.com

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