Goodbye Green Wash - Not Quite

UL Environmental is a new division of Underwriters Laboratories and offers "independent green claims validation, product certification, training, advisory services and standards development."
In their exhibit at Neocon, they were giving away bars of soap emblazoned with the slogan, "Goodbye Green Wash." The slogan and the soap create a strong and memorable image that explains the benefit of the company's services.

Still, they missed valuable opportunities to "walk the talk":
  • The packaging does not list products ingredients, place of manufacturer, or whether sustainable paper and printing were used -- important information that can help a consumer assess the environmental impact of the product.
  • More, the fragrance in the soap, while pleasant enough, could irritate show attendees with chemical sensitivities, and does not support environmental goals for indoor air quality.
The point I am trying to make is that claiming an environmental benefit for a product can act, ironically, as an invitation for greater scrutiny of all aspects of the product.

A Neocon publication from Interior Design, written by Penny Bonda, put it this way:
Remember, as you engage with showroom personnel, to ask the right questions: Where did this product come from? What is it made of? How is it made? How is it maintained? How does it affect the well-being of the building occupants? How much energy does it use? How do I know you're telling me the truth? Knowing whom to trust in this era of greenwash is a huge challenge, sorting out the science is difficult for those not schooled in technical matters.
On the positive side, the soap is one piece of trade show swag that I will probably use, unlike the plastic gizmos that will sit on my desk for a week and then wind up in a recycling bin or trash can.