The Dangers of Greenwashing

So it’s already been established that ‘green’ is in at Ingenex. We’re actively searching for ways to make both Ingenex and our eco-friendly internship more sustainable. Several of our past blog posts on our eco-friendly internship discuss ways that we could move towards a greener future and mode of bussiness down in the brickyard. As you are well aware, there are tons of ‘green’ living tips, and stores are stocked full of products that are claiming to be ‘green’ ‘organic’ ‘sustainable’ etc. The seeming ubiquity of such products and services has got to make you wonder- do they live up to the claims they make? Enter the dangerously fine line between green and greenwashing.

Wikipedia describes greenwashing as a term ‘used to describe the perception of consumers that they are being misled by a company regarding the environmental practices of the company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.’ Essentially this is used in reference to a company’s loose usage of marketing and PR buzzwords to convince consumers that their consumption is beneficial to the planet, when in fact it is not. Frequently, these products are identical to their conventional counterparts. 

Environmental Marketing firm Terra Choice is famous for coining and publishing the ‘6 Sins of Greenwashing‘- a reference used to differentiate between companies’ incentives for greenwashing their products and services. Terra Choice quantifies these sins as 1. Sin of the hidden trade off, 2. Sin of no proof, 3. Sin of vagueness, 4. Sin of lesser of two evils, 5. Sin of lesser of two evils and 6. Sin of fibbing.


By making claims such as these, the legitimate green market becomes somewhat tainted. Consumers are no doubtly duped by companies making such false or half true claims. Because there is little to no regulation on ‘green’ business (although more certifications are becoming more readily available), many critics continue to dismiss all ‘green’ products and services, which ultimately hurts the industry. 

With the rise of the digital age, the consumer has endless resources available to them upon the click of a mouse.  A variety of product certification websites as well as  peer-reviewed technologies on companies’ websites aid to put the power back into the hands of the consumer. The most important tool the consumer has access to is the power of information. If one is aware that not ‘all that’s green is gold,’ they are far more likely to do the background research and choose the product with a legitimate certification and is therefore better for the environment. The Greenwash Brigade, Energy Star Program, and the We Buy it Green Blog all serve as excellent references to help you pick the truly eco-friendly products that you need.

The Eco-Friendly Intern team is actively be working towards making more green-ovations around Ingenex. We are proud to be actively aware of the misleading dangers of greenwashing and feel confident we are heading in the right direction with our heavy reliance on digital technologies. We believe that digital communications are sustainable and the way of the future! 

Eco-Savvy Marketing in Ann Arbor: The Google Experiment

If you’re anything like me, anytime you find yourself uncertain about anything, you simply open your browser and ‘Google it.’ I do this literally dozens of times a day (I know, I know…) but until fairly recently had little awareness that I could actually have an influence on what results show at the top of the page. Enter the “Google Experiment.” Creating a more easily searchable online presence is one of Ingenex‘s many specialties. So, one of our assignments for this week was to pick several search terms, weave them into the title and body of our personal blog entries, cross-link everyone’s keywords to our blogs, and watch our chosen terms rise on Google’s search rank. We took two screen shots of our Googled our words pre-blog and post-blog to demonstrate the efficiency that cross linking blogs and blog entries can have. As I am interested in the environmental side of digital marketing, my chosen search keywords were Eco-Savvy Marketing Ann Arbor



Eco-Savvy Marketing Ann Arbor Before Picture

Eco-Savvy Marketing Ann Arbor Before Picture

Eco-Savvy Marketing Ann Arbor After Picture

As you can see, this experiment proved to be quite successful for my search terms. The rest of the Ingenex team’s blog entries and keywords proved to be similarly successful. Derek wrote on Digital Marketing Education, Pedro chose Experimental Marketing Michigan, Amanda did Marketing an Eco-Friendly Expansion, Nick chose Online Publishing Marketing, and Jennifer worked on Digital Eco Fusion. For more insights regarding keyword and search engine optimization, I suggest you check out their blog posts. Although my personal blog entry was not the first result, it was in the top four. Prior to my blog entry and my fellow interns cross-links, there was no one such thing as ‘eco-savvy marketing in Ann Arbor;’ rather it was a mishmash of vaguely relevant isolated words. Hopefully, after Derek and all interns have posted their weekly eco-friendly blog entry detailing their keywords and linking back to mine, I will see an even higher rank for ‘Eco-Savvy Marketing Ann Arbor’ on Google. This phenomenon, or keyword optimization as the digital pros call it, is extremely important when trying to digitally publicize a product, blog, person or website. Therefore, one’s keyword choice is something that deserves a special degree of thoughtfulness regarding the desired outcomes. As you could imagine, it is important to have several words that are more common and popular. However, if all of your keywords are fairly commonplace, it will be quite difficult for Google to return your desired page with a high rank, as these words are competitive and used frequently on many pages. If in 2-3 words you can carefully describe what it is offered on your site, then you are far more likely to achieve successful results. In the blogosphere, cross-linking to blogs using keywords can achieve similar results to running an online search. As our intern experiment proves, keyword optimization serves as a useful tool to spread the word about your product, blog or website. It can also be an effective tool for the consumer; I can’t tell you how many times I have chosen the higher ranked websites returned from my search. Keyword optimization will prove to be exceptionally useful, especially as we are actively expanding the eco-friendly internship across the midwest and using a variety of different types of media.

So until next time, keep Googling (thoughtfully, of course.)