Findings

About the Sins of Greenwashing Report & Study

In 2007, in an effort to describe, understand and quantify the growth of greenwashing, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing launched a study of environmental claims made on products carried on category-leading ‘big box’ store shelves. Based on the results of the study, six patterns in greenwashing were identified, now recognized as the Six Sins of Greenwashing study. The Six Sins of Greenwashing exposed a nerve with consumers wanting to do the right thing but growing suspicious of misleading environmental claims.

In 2009, TerraChoice released the follow-up study, the Seven Sins of Greenwashing to present new and significant trends that have emerged since the first study. The Seven Sins research included even more big box stores in both Canada and the U.S. and moreproducts studied. The second edition of the study also gave closer examination to product categories of special interest to consumers — toys/baby products, cosmetics and cleaning products.

In 2010, the Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition has been launched to update the state of knowledge of environmental claims, to focus particular attention on home and family products, and to add a constructive perspective to the debate. What we found is both fascinating and telling. Consumers are offering companies both a carrot and a stick. They reward green product innovation, and they scold greenwashing. And it appears to be working. There are more green products than ever before, there’ s a little less greenwashing, and there is good evidence that companies – and big retailers – are learning with experience. Consumers are creating a gradually greener retail world. Read the 2010 study now.

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