I recently bought some Peter Pan peanut butter. Being the environmental nerd that I am, I was quick to notice the brand's new label. Rather than describing their new jar as something that didn't sound quite as good like "eco-friendlier," they just went ahead and described their new jars as "earth-friendly."
The marketing executives at ConAgra Foods, the makers of Peter Pan, apparently thought that their jars merited this description because, as they say on their jar and website: "Our new jar uses 9 percent to 12 percent less plastic per ounce, which isn't only great for the environment, but for your budget, too."
First-- let me say that I applaud ConAgra for making this move. It certainly seems like a good thing, although I did not find the statistics of how big of an impact this change makes very impressive:
It's good that they "have gone green," as they claim-- but does that really make their jars earth-friendly? Definitely not. It's a shame that they can't just market the action for what it is-- an improvement. I'm definitely glad they are doing it, but I just wish they would not greenwash.
It's important to note that ConAgra is not alone. Perhaps this is why they think they will not be held accountable. In fact, one recent study in Philadelphia found that 98% of "green products" made false claims in their advertising. If companies continue to co-opt phrases like "going green" and "earth-friendly" for any small improvements they make, then the terms will become utterly meaningless-- if they haven't already.