Greenwashing. Are you guilty?

August 12th, 2008

I’m just back in the office after spending three weeks on the road meeting with retailers and business partners in eight different cities. During that time

I’m just back in the office after spending three weeks on the road meeting with retailers and business partners in eight different cities. During that time, we discussed next generation e-procurement tools. On several occasions the subject of greenwashing came up. So as regards e-procurement, just what is greenwashing? I’ll leave it up to you to determine if you are guilty.

Basically, greenwash is paying lip service to something to make it seem like you are involved without actually conducting any practice or process that supports that lip services. I have been reading an interesting blog lately blog.sourcinginnovation.com by an individual who refers to himself as the doctor. In an 18th of June post titled Greenwashing: A brief introduction, he describes green washing as a practice used by a company to mislead consumers about the environmental benefits of a product or service. This can apply to any person or company in the sourcing cycle of life which includes retailers, suppliers, manufacturers, brokers, and vendors that provide the tools that bind this circle.

By example, at SafeSourcing we have a corporate social responsibility program we call R5. The five R’s refer to the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle terms that all green focused organizations are familiar with. Additionally, we have added Reward and Renew. By reward we mean that we will contribute ten percent (10%) of our corporate profits annually to the safety and environmentally focused organizations that our customers support through their initiatives’. This reward will be based on the vote of our customers. By renew we mean that we will continue this cycle annually and support it in all of our products, programs and best practices.

Greenwashing might be linking to green websites or using green terminology without any practical application associated with it. If you are a retailer, ask your supplier’s, vendors and business partners what their green programs are. Compare their programs with yours and then learn from each other. Pay this support forward by rewarding suppliers, vendors and business partners that share and support your social consciousness.

I look forward to your comments.

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