Consumers Invited to Put Ads to Greenwashing Test
from Chevrolet, Ozarka and Toyota Prius are among the first to be
scrutinized by consumers on a new Web site launched by EnviroMedia
Social Marketing, in partnership with the advertising faculty of the
University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC).
This online forum allows consumers to judge for themselves the green
claims made by major advertisers.
The Web site (http://www.GreenwashingIndex.com)
debuted one day before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) kicks off its
first in a series of public workshops addressing environmental
marketing claims. Ultimately, the FTC may update its "Green Guides,"
which were originally established in 1992 as guidelines to avoid action
by the agency against advertising with an environmental claim that is
unfair or deceptive.
EnviroMedia principals Valerie Davis and Kevin Tuerff announced the
Greenwashing Index(SM) from the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali,
Indonesia, Dec. 11, 2007, and called on consumers to submit ads. The
first posts of real ads are now on the Web site, and consumers are
invited to score those ads and post others.
"We've been witnessing a tidal wave of green advertising over the
past year," said EnviroMedia President Kevin Tuerff. "It's our hope the
Greenwashing Index(SM) will help eradicate bad environmental marketing
claims and, at the same time, shine a positive light on companies
making measurable reductions in carbon emissions related to climate
"Greenwashing," a term that has been around for many years, is used
to describe a company or organization that spends more time and money
claiming to be green through advertising and marketing than actually
implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.
"When an ad is posted and ranked on the Greenwashing Index(SM) site,
it doesn't necessarily mean a company or organization is not doing a
good job with its environmental marketing claims," said EnviroMedia CEO
Valerie Davis. "We're providing a venue that educates consumers on what
to look for in green ads and an easy mechanism for evaluating them.
Scores will range from 'good,' to 'pushing it,' to 'total