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  • Diluting the Green Label

    What Does ‘Sustainable’ Really Mean?

    GreenwashingSmokestack“Sustainability” has been all the rage for years now.  In fact, it has almost become passé.  The term has become so ubiquitous that most people don’t even notice it anymore.  Unless a product goes out of its way to advertise the fact that it is radioactive and should be kept in a lead box at all times, it is almost a given that its manufacturer will claim it is ‘green’.  In fact, there is a virtually inexhaustible array of arguments one can use to claim that anything is green.  Natural Gas is ‘green’ because it is better than Coal.  Coal is ‘green’ because it isn’t as dirty as it was in, say, 1890.  PVC is ‘green’ because it can (hypothetically) be recycled, despite the fact that almost nobody actually does recycle it.  This advertising strategy is commonly known as ‘greenwashing’; I presume that there is a whole chapter on it in most introductory marketing textbooks.

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