Image: Courtesy TerraChoice
In March, I asked whether TerraChoice's "Seven Sins of Greenwashing," a report on false claims around environmental performance, could be applied to whole buildings. Yesterday, the Ottawa-based marketing firm released its latest version of the report. Among the new findings: Since 2009, the number of products advertised as green has increased 73 percent, and over 95 percent of the total make misleading or inaccurate claims.
Back in the spring, I asked whether the same level of scrutiny could be used to review green buildings, which would be a useful exercise to determine how many projects actually deliver what they promise. However, a more relevant use of the TerraChoice literature would be to study green building products. How much of what we put in our buildings actually does what the manufacturers claim?
The Federal Trade Commission's Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, also known as the "Green Guides," should regulate such marketing, but the guidelines haven't been updated since 1998. However, earlier this month, the FTC announced a proposal to overhaul the Green Guides. Now's the time for building product manufacturers to get out in front of new regulations and walk the talk.