Net Green against Greenwashing

Hi Steamgreener!

Enjoy today’s article by our fellow student Lucia Ibanez Aldecoa!

Credibility is one of the main reasons for consumers to reject green products and they have good reasons to distrust.
Greenwashing is the dark side of green marketing and it is difficult for consumers to differentiate companies that have a real commitment with sustainability from those ones that make-up their products as eco-friendly when they are not.
A product is said to be green when it has less impact on the environment throughout their life-cycle compared to an average similar product available in the market.
It is not true then, that green products have zero-impact or positive impact on the environment. If we keep using this definition, many new technologies should be considered as green when they are not: just think about e-books substituting printed ones, or watching movies online.
A single green attribute is not sufficient to claim a product as Green and studying the impact across the Product’s Life Cycle is not enough.
An article published by the professors Ronald Geyer and Trevor Zink explains the necessity of going deeper in the analysis to determine the greenness of sustainable products.
Their innovative strategy to be implemented by companies in order to increase consumer’s trust and business credibility, is going “Net Green”.
By recycling (assuming that demand for the raw material is fixed), one may say that one kilogram of recycled paper sold replaces one kilogram of non-recycled one. But the demand is not fixed and the cost advantage offered by the recycling activity would decrease the price of paper leading to an increase in the overall demand, finally enlarging the paper market as a whole.
So in this case, in order to be net green, the analysis of a company selling recycled paper should consider the impact of the growth of paper’s market size.
What about car sharing? To determine if this service is actually Green, we should know about the past behavior of people who now share a car: they used to have their own cars or they used to take a public transport?
If they used to take a bus or a train instead of using their own cars, then, car sharing is generating more pollution.
A Net Green strategy would make things a bit more complicated for resposible companies but they will also become much more trustable by showing a real commitment with their mission. Only then, consumers would leave aside their skepticism.
Thank you very much Lucia for your support and participation on Steamgreen!

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