Jan 15, 2008

Eco-Friendly Web Sites Making Off With Your Green?

Lack Of Federal Oversight Means Donated Money May Not Be Used As Intended
Dozens of new environmentally friendly Web sites promise to help save the planet one donation at a time. But as CBS 2 HD found out, with no governmental oversight of these green charities, your green may end up in the wrong hands.
"A carbon offset is something that represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions," said Jennifer Martin of the Center for Resource Solutions.
Environmental groups like the Center for Resource Solutions say offsets are a valuable tool in the fight against global warming, but there are concerns.
"Consumers can't tell they actually received an offset because it's invisible," Martin said. "They can't hold it or see it."
Right now, there is no government oversight to make sure donations are invested as promised or that the offsets actually perform as promised.
"At a minimum, regulation should enforce that when companies are selling products, where they're making claims about greenhouse gas performance or climate neutrality of a product, that there's real data and verification to back that up," Martin said.
Now, the Federal Trade Commission is examining the exploding industry.
Until guidelines are established, experts say look for verification from an independent third party and because some of these companies are non-profit and others are for-profit, find out what percentage of your donation will actually go to the cause.