Here’s the lie: Green Business Lie #20: You can recycle the box they come in, so let’s call these “EcoTwinkies.”
Here’s the truth — excerpted from The Truth About Green Business:

TRUTH 20: What Makes a Product Green?
Some companies still make “green” product claims, when it’s clear to everyone else that they’re really not green — often more out of ignorance than trying to mislead. To avoid being “that company,” avoid these pitfalls.
-Don’t fall for the green trade-off. Greening gradually is fine, but don’t call a t-shirt “green” if its organic cotton is processed with harmful dyes, exposing workers and consumers to toxins. Your customer is buying the whole shirt, not a piece of the process.
-Don’t make claims you can’t stand behind. For example, sustainably harvested wood depends on a clear chain of custody, so there is no risk of it being mixed with unsustainably harvested wood.
-Don’t ignore your product after it leaves your company. Is it used in a green way? Is it actually recycled? For example, CFL lightbulbs are very energy efficient, but if people put them in the wrong type of fixture, they can burn out quickly, and increase waste and demand for materials.
Greenness (and specific aspects of green, such as carbon footprint, recycled content or toxicity) will be more important to some customers than others. So build a culture of constant improvement that won’t be satisfied with first steps. For example, Patagonia, a leader in green adventure gear, has maintained its leadership by never assuming they’re as good as they could be.

Read more in The Truth About Green Business by Gil Friend, coming May 29 from Financial Times Press. Pre-order your copy today! (And come back tomorrow for another Green Business Lie.)

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