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Green Marketing vs. Green Washing

September 16, 2010
CSE 2nd Sustainability Roundtable in Chicago: Moving Sustainability Forward at a Time of Economic Slowdown

Sustainability Roundtable presented by CSE

On September 14th, the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE), in collaboration with the Sustainable Business Network of Washington (SB NOW), hosted 4th Sustainability Roundtable in Washington D.C. titled, “Green Marketing vs. Green Washing: Even good intentions in marketing are being met with lawsuits and regulatory fines”.

John Friedman, Senior Director of SB NOW, Lester A. Myers, Ph.D., Professorial Lecturer at Georgetown University, and David Witzel Director, Innovation Exchange of EDF, and Nikos Avlonas, CEO of CSE were among panel experts who participated in the roundtable. Participation stemmed from professionals with varying perspectives and experience from corporate communications and the non-governmental community to sustainability practitioners and academics, which represented organizations and institutions such as Lockheed Martin, BP Exploration, Noble Energy Inc, and Georgetown University.

As consumers become more aware of Sustainability, greater environmental and social claims around products in the marketplace are being heard. Such claims have gone largely unchecked by regulators until recently, creating much unintended confusion to the consumer as to which products are truly environmentally superior.

John Friedman, Co-founder of SB NOW and panelist of the Roundtable, stated,
“Often green washing is not an outright attempt to be deceptive, but rather stems from failing to consider these measures with the same robust attention as is usually given to more established and familiar measures of business performance.”

Being guilty of Green Washing can depend greatly on what the consumers perceive the green claim of products or services to mean. In addition, the creation of vague or broad environmental claims by companies, featured on products or websites, have been recently subjected to fines and lawsuits by regulatory agencies and competitors in the market.

Nick Andrews, Managing Director of CSE comments,
“Sustainability offers solutions to facilitate greater trust in business by applying fundamental principles to core business values and operations that will generate clear indications of how credible these claims are. As a result there is greater transparency between facts and claims, thus enabling consumers to see an alignment between the brand identity and products of a business.”

The Roundtable was hosted as part of CSE’s Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Workshop, one of the industry’s leading professional training courses that equip professionals across sectors to effectively design and implement non-financial sustainability activities within organizations to add value and positive impacts to financial performance. CSE will host its next Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Workshop in New York City, NY December 2-3, 2010. Training is recognized by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), and is designed for all professionals working General Management, CSR Management, Public Relations, Communications, Marketing, Human Resources, Sustainability, and Environmental Management.
Register for CSE’s next Training in North America on eventbrite

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