The Global Fool

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Eco-Label Effect: The Good Taste of Coffee
Dec07

Eco-Label Effect: The Good Taste of Coffee

By Roberta Attanasio Do you want your coffee to taste better? Call it “eco-friendly”. Results from a newly published study show that eco-labels, as for example “fair-trade” or “organic”, promote a willingness to pay more for the product, and not only. These labels also lead people to perceive that products with an eco-label taste better than identical, but unlabeled products. The authors of the study conclude that their findings could help in devising ways to promote sustainable consumer behavior. They have dubbed these biased consumer responses “eco-label effect“. The study is entitled “Who Needs Cream and Sugar When There Is Eco-Labeling? Taste and Willingness to Pay for “Eco-Friendly” Coffee” and was published a few days ago in the scientific journal PLOSone (December 4, 2013). The study consists of 3 experiments. In all experiments, participants tasted two cups of coffee. The two cups contained identical coffee. However, they were told that one of the cups contained “eco-friendly” coffee while the other did not. The participants then rated each of the two cups of coffee. In the first experiment, the participants were also told, before the tasting, which cup contained which type of coffee. The results of this experiment indicated that the participants – at least those who scored high on a questionnaire on attitudes toward sustainable consumer behavior – were willing to pay more for the “eco-friendly” coffee and preferred its taste. Results from the second experiment suggested that high sustainability consumers were willing to pay more for “eco-friendly” coffee, even when they were told that the cup they chose contained the non-labeled alternative. Finally, in the third experiment (similarly to the first one) participants were told, before the tasting, which cup contained which type of coffee. They were just as biased when reporting their cup preference as they were in terms of their willingness to pay anonymously. Therefore, the eco-label effect did not seem to be caused by their desire to be viewed favorably by others. Under a different point of view, these results seem to validate the power of greenwashing but, hopefully, will not encourage...

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What is Greenwashing?
Jul03

What is Greenwashing?

By The Editors Greenwashing (or greenwash) is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “Disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.”  In other words, the term “greenwashing” applies to the attempts made by companies, organizations or political entities to falsely promote products, services or programs as environmentally friendly, or to deflect attention from environmentally unfriendly activities. The general consensus is that the term “greenwashing” was originally coined in 1986 by Jay Westerveld, an environmentalist from upstate New York.  Jay wrote an essay in which he claimed the hotel industry falsely promoted the reuse of towels as part of a broader environmental strategy, whereas the suggested practice of reusing towels was a cost-saving strategy. We have not been able to find the much-cited 1986 essay anywhere — and, really, it doesn’t matter, as greenwashing is now a common term. The best way to avoid getting “greenwashed” is to be aware of the different greenwashing strategies. As Greenpeace tells us: “Every day, Americans are bombarded with advertising about environmentally friendly goods and services. But how many really are green, and how many are just pretending?” In 2007, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing (now part of the Underwriters Laboratories global network) launched a study of greenwashing by analyzing a variety of products. The result of the study was the identification of six patterns in greenwashing, which were defined as the Six Sins of Greenwashing. In 2009, a follow-up study identified a total of seven sins (The seven sins of Greenwashing). A seven sins wallet card (you can download it here) is available on sinsofgreenwashing.org — it will help you to make educated, greener purchases!!! It includes tips to avoid purchasing products that commit the Seven Sins of Greenwashing, plus a guide to...

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