Why 'bio' and 'green' don't mean what you think
Greenwashing is rampant in online marketing, according to a study by the European Union and national consumer protection authorities. It found many environmental claims on companies' websites are exaggerated, false and potentially illegal. In an analysis of online traders last year, the EU Commission assessed 344 "seemingly dubious claims" and found that in 42% of cases national authorities had reason to believe the claim was false, deceptive or could potentially qualify as unfair commercial practices under EU rules. Vague language is a common telltale sign of greenwashing, says Seele. Brands will use vague buzzwords such as "green", "sustainable" or "eco-friendly" to make their business seem environmentally conscious, but without substantiation, they "don't mean much in themselves", he says. "There's no ultimate definition of what sustainability is. It's an empty word."