Greenwashing a Common Practice among Cosmetic Companies

Going green is not a simple process and too many companies are profiting from the complexity and confusion surrounding sustainability. A new report by environmental consultancy firm TerraChoice finds that bending and twisting the truth has become standard practice when marketing sustainability. Results from the study indicate that the vast majority of eco-friendly products are not as green as they seem.

Surveying toys, baby products, cosmetics and household cleaners, TerraChoice found that 98 percent had committed at least one of its seven sins of greenwashing.

? The most benign and common of these offenses is the "sin of the hidden trade-off" whereby one environmental issue is emphasized at the expense of potentially more serious concerns.

? Flagging up the green credentials of a small part of a finished product is a simple and effective way to mislead consumers. If one small ingredient in a cosmetics formulation is sustainably sourced then it is deceptive to emblazon the packaging with green propaganda.

? Sometimes companies will even go as far as making sustainability claims without having made any steps in that direction. It is not uncommon to hear companies claim to be sustainable because of what they do not do. Is a paper packaging firm really sustainable just because it doesn't produce plastic?