11 March 2008

Beware of manufacturers' claims to be green

More and more consumers have a growing awareness of the larger environmental issues and are looking to make product choices with this in mind. However, beware, because companies are now aware of this and are 'dressing up' their old products in new 'greener' clothes.

'Greenwashing', as it known, is where a company markets a product squarely at the green consumer knowing that the claims it makes are untrue. This could be in the form of unsubstantiated 'eco' claims or using text and imagery to give the impression that the product is environmentally friendly when it is not.

We recently came across an example of this is some advertising for insulation products that you would use in your home.

The old Pink Batts, that we used to see the Pink Panther advertising, have now been re branded by the manufacturer, Insulation Solutions, under the umbrella of 'eco pink' along with the rest of their insulation products.

Whilst what insulation does can't be disputed ie, makes your home more energy efficient, reduces your energy usage and therefore your greenhouse gas emissions.

In our opinion the marketing of these products has the definite potential to mislead consumers into thinking that the batts themselves and the manufacture of them is environmentally friendly.

To be fair to Insulation Solutions, they do claim that their batts are made from 70% recycled glass, but to create a marketing campaign with such a 'green' tinge, there needs to be more substance to their eco claims, such as:
  • How are they manufactured?
  • What has Insulation Solutions done to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions?
  • What sort of waste is produced and what is done with it?
  • What is done with the waste left over after the batts are installed?
We will always advocate people installing insulation in the roof, walls and floors of their homes, however it is important to look closely at the products on offer and buy the best product for your circumstance, which may not necessarily be the one that looks the 'greenest'.


Lloyd Alter said...

They have the American attitude that anything that saves energy is by definition green, when that is only one part of it. In fact their insulation has formaldehyde binders whereas other manufacturers have completely eliminated it.

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