Beware of Greenwashing Your Business

Green. Green. Green. The word is everywhere these days. In slogans. In ads. On products. Obviously it's trendy. And it connects with consumers. But beware.

Before you tag your company as green, be sure that you do a self-audit: Are you responsibly using the word green? What actions are you taking to support your business's claim as a green company? Don't mislead with your green claims. 'Greenwashing' will only hurt your image.

If you see the word 'green' being used by a company, ask questions: How are they green? Why are they using the word 'green'. Every company that has the word green in their name or slogan should be held accountable. No company has ownership of the word green. But every company which uses it must demonstrate a responsibility.

Be green responsibly today, and you'll be in a better position should a competitor emerges that tries to one-up your company's green position. One thing is for certain: green is always evolving so don't stand still on what you're doing to be a green company. You can always recycle more, use less energy, etc. It's just a matter of finding ways to improve efficiencies.

Sure, there are always entrepreneurs (usually your competitors) who'll say they were 'green' long before you, and that you're simply be trendy using the word today. Don't be fazed. The fact of the matter is: Green is about what is being done today and in the future, not about the past or was green first.

Take action. Sustain it. Reinvent it. Improve it. That way you'll be on the green path to success . . . and comfortable knowing you're doing it for the right reasons.

This article was written by Gregg McLachlan, founder and president of, Canada's Outpost for Green Jobs. It originally appeared in

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