GREENWASH IN TECHNICAL PR AND ADVERTISING
25th March, 2010
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An interesting article on this morning’s Biz Community details a case of greenwash levelled at electronics giant Samsung. For those of you who haven’t come across the term, ‘greenwash’ means misrepresenting your products or services as more environmentally friendly than they are.
Biz Community’s Herman Manson writes; “The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa has ruled that the Samsung marketing material was misleading and therefore in breach of the advertising code after having receiving a complaint lodged by competitor LG Electronics South Africa.”
The sad thing is that Samsung have actually got some very green products, which have been recognised by the likes of Greenpeace and others. However, they appear to have suggested that all of their home appliances are as environmentally friendly as their very best ones. If this was their objective, then one can’t help but criticise them for it. On the other hand, their biggest critic appears to be LG Electronics...
Of course, for those of us industry, the problem is often the reverse of this – accurately communicating how green a product really is! I work with a number of organisations involved in promoting the use of VSDs (see this postfrom GAMBICA) and it is very clear that that there is huge unused potential here for saving energy.
Because I’m heavily involved in this genuinely ‘green’ technology, I sometimes mentally add up the energy UK Plc could save by implementing all the energy saving technologies I see advertised. It occasionally seems to be more than we actually use.
This presents two sobering messages to me. The first is that somewhere out there someone is very guilty of greenwash. And it isn’t the VSD tribe for certain. The second is that there is a huge unused potential for saving energy using existing technology. Perhaps what is required is less focus on misrepresentation and more attention on producing international energy saving standards to allow industry to accurately measure how much energy its products are saving - or wasting.