The Risks of Greenwashing.
Managing Risk Includes Your Company Reputation
Chicago, IL 6/07/2010 01:09 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)
The perceived benefits gained from Greenwashing can be marginal compared to the near certain expectation that there will be a backlash for a public charade. History will certainly look back on these days of "Easy Green" tactics, and badly judge those who thought to cheat the system with fake certifications.
The reputation of a business is an asset that can be helped or hindered by such decisions as associations and certifications. The public puts trust into a company’s representations, but there is an attendant risk in choices made by the company.
Early on, the lack of standards and information allowed poor compliance standards to flourish. All a company needed to do was to go to any of the Internet Green certification websites and pay a fee to be immediately awarded a Green certification. This is called “Easy Green” and is just another form of greenwashing. Of course, these website use a series of self-assessment forms intended to add a sense of actual compliance.
Green certifications offered by attractively-contrived websites are still another form of greenwashing. Like putting a pig in a dress, buying a certification from a website is a contradiction in terms. While it is possible to purchase a membership online, buying a certification online is quite another thing.
Certification implies that there has been a review of the project and a standard of compliance met. Memberships can be like a pool pass allowing anyone with the proper fee to enter. The purposeful confusion of the two concepts demonstrates yet another indication of the deceit of these Green certification programs.
When the risks of these phony certifications are eventually played out, their value is troubling. The reputation of a company is theoretically helped by the posting of a clandestine certification logo. Companies understand risk and try to minimize it wherever possible. Posting a green washed logo is certainly a marketing risk to avoid.
The Green Business League stands as the only Green business certification worthy of consideration for very obvious reasons. First of all, the Green Business League uses a national standard that can be respected. Secondly, every Green certification is accomplished by a live audit. Thirdly, the Green Business League has an EARNED program for certification requiring a level of verified performance.