Earth day and “Green” Products

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April 22, 2013 by Tamara Piety

Well it is that time again when advertisers want to suggest that you can save the world through better consumption, specifically by buying “green.”  Clorox has a line of products which are supposed to be better for the environment called “GreenWorks.”  This line was somewhat controversial since it obtained an endorsement from the Sierra Club in exchange for a payment. That endorsement is expiring and the brand is retooling. See New York Clorox Green Works CleanersTimes article, In an Overhaul, Clorox Aims to Get Green Works Out of its Niche.  And what is this “niche”? Higher prices, in some cases 20% higher. Interestingly enough, although you might thing that this would be front and center in the article, it is unclear what makes these products “green,” in other words, how are they different from their other cleaning products? There is at least some ambiguity about whether the products are really environmentally more responsible, although a great deal of the problem is that we don’t have a good definition of what makes a product “green.” So without standards companies it is feared that companies could simply call something “green.” and leave it at that without actually retooling anything but the packaging and logo. Articles like the one in the NY Times enhance those fears by giving virtually no space to discussing the products’ properties, just its advertising and branding strategy. In my experience, reading these materials, it isn’t at all unusual for the marketing discussion to be entirely detached from any discussion of that product’s properties. Clorox’s new campaign apparently make a virtue out of this fear of “greenwashing” with this


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