What does it mean to be green?

A recent article in the York Daily Record (The Meaning Of Green) points out how hard it is for consumers to really know they are buying from a ‘green’ company.

Research for my new book (Saving The World At Work, Sept 16 launch) indicates that many of us want to spend our money with companies that are doing the right thing for people and planet. The bad news is that companies are happy to offer that attribute, at least in how they market themselves.

Eventually, I believe that truth in advertising laws as well as the SEC will regulate such claims, but for now it is important to be mindful and ask yourself: How does the company treat its people and local communities? How was the product made? What happens to the product at the end of its natural life? These are the real questions that determine sustainability over time.

The more thoughtful we are, the more we can isolate the companies to promote or boycott. If you are a company, you should make sure that you first walk the walk, then talk the walk in very specific ways. To say you are green invites accusations of greenwashing — to explain how you made the product or how you’ve only used sustainable ingredients is a service to consumers.

If you’ve recently discovered a company that is truly acting sustainably, post something about it in comments.