Greenwashing May Actually Be Having An Impact

Critics have decried green labeling and certification programs as 'greenwashing' - offering the sheen of environmental responsibility without having a significant impact on sustainability. But Tensie Whelan argues such programs are having an impact.
August 20, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The idea that we can consume our way to sustainability as long as the label says it's 'green' has deservedly been lampooned for years," points out Whelan, president of the nonprofit Rainforest Alliance. "More recently, the questioning is getting more serious and soul-searching, because environmentalists themselves are often the ones doing the asking."

"To conclude from these critiques, however, that sustainable consumerism is 'weak' or doesn’t work would be a colossal mistake," she argues. "Independent, accredited certification programs are scaling up sustainable practices worldwide and demonstrating huge benefits for the environment, workers, and communities."

"[T]here’s abundant evidence that despite some bad actors or self-serving programs, consumers who choose certified products and services are making a huge difference," she continues. "They’re the reason smallholding farmers worldwide are rapidly adopting sustainable practices, and why industry giants are eliminating deforestation and other harms from their global supply chains."

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Published on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 in Fast Company Co.Exist
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