Greenwashing

June 16, 2009 at 6:46 am Leave a comment

I’m a fan of Zoe Weil, author and creator of Humane Education.  Today she hit the nail on the head with her critique of cause marketing (you know, when you buy a product where some of the proceeds go to a charity).  I am definitely a partaker in the cause marketing machine.  I often chose the product — the organic t-shirt at my favorite eco-store or the salad dressing at the natural food store — that has a give-back.  But what Zoe wrote is so obvious — and actually so much truer to what I am trying to do with Having Enough — that it has given me a major a-ha moment.

I have been feeling lately that I need to cut down on consumption, and assuaging this nagging feeling by buying green or “charitable” products is fooling myself.  It’s still stuff that I likely can live without.  I’m still buying, still adding stuff to an overstuffed cabinet.  Just because the stuff seems “worthy” doesn’t mean that I should get the stuff.  If I’m honest, I wouldn’t necessarily need all the stuff anyway, so cause marketing gives an excuse to buy stuff I may not have bought.

Zoe uses the term “greenwashing” in her post.  Forgive me if I’ve been under the rock of pregnancy/childbirth this past year, but it was a new term to me.  The concept, though, is familiar.  The idea that green is hip — great, except it is often being taken advantage of to fuel the consumer machine.

Last year, I was offered a shot at a lucrative writing assignment for a disposable diaper company who wanted a “lite green mom” to blog regularly about eco issues for the diaper company’s web site.  Did they have a new disposable diaper that was biodegradable or at least made without chlorine bleach, or some new alternative diaper? What was green about their disposable diapers? I inquired.  No response, and no job for me.  I deduced that “lite green” meant someone who was willing to promote the worst kind of landfill-clogging disposable diapers without asking these (obvious!) questions. But, if they have a “green mom” blog, people could somehow feel better about buying their un-green product??  Greenwashing, yes.

Once again, I see the need to look beyond the obvious.  I saw clearly the hypocrisy on the writing assignment, but I had not before stopped to think deeply about the “other side” of cause marketing and my own role in it.  Living and learning.  And next time I’ll think twice…

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Death Becomes Us Pretending to Be Asleep

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Welcome!

You are visiting "Having Enough (In a Have-It-All World)"...

Blog Mission

To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

Blog Author

Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

Books for Having Enough Kids

Shop Button www.megansbarefootbooks.com

Feeds


%d bloggers like this: