Going Green

TerraChoice advocates against greenwashing in its 2009 marketer’s guide.

Do you tout eco-friendly or “green” products in your gallery? Whether it’s handmade work by an artist, or a cleaning product you’re using to wipe down your display cases, you may be unwittingly participating in greenwashing.

What is greenwashing exactly? It’s the practice of marketing a product as being more environmentally friendly than it actually is. According to TerraChoice, an environmental marketing firm, there is no such thing as a “perfectly ‘green’ product. Preferable products are ‘greener,’ not ‘green.’ ”

Want to stop marketing products that haven’t been properly vetted? Avoid these tactics, which TerraChoice dub the “Seven Sins of Greenwashing”:

  1. Sin of the hidden trade-off.

    Research the environmental impact of the products you’re selling—across their complete lifecycles. Don’t make claims about a single environmental impact without knowing how your product performs overall.

  2. Sin of no proof.

    Confirm the scientific case behind each green marketing claim. Ask your artists to provide details about their materials and techniques.

  3. Sin of vagueness.

    Don’t use vague terms like “environmentally friendly.” Instead, use language that is based on fact and resonates with customers.

  4. Sin of worshipping false labels.

    Favor products that are accredited.

  5. Sin of irrelevance.

    Don’t claim an environmental benefit that is shared by all or most of your competitors.

  6. Sin of the lesser of two evils.

    Help customers find the product they really need or want; don’t try to make them feel ‘green’ about a choice that isn’t best for them.

  7. Sin of fibbing.

    Tell the truth. Always.

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