"How a 6,000-pound behemoth can be the green car of the year is beyond me," said David Champion, director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Division. "It's a marketing exercise rather than reality." Tahoe gets only about 20 miles per gallon
The eight-passenger vehicle is plastered with "hybrid" labels and named "Green Car of the Year." by executive director of The Sierra Club
Few companies out and out lie, but they often use vague terms with no defined meaning, such as "earth friendly," or tout an environmental benefit while leaving out the environmental harm their product can cause.
Consumers in the United States are expected to double their spending on green products and services in the next year to an estimated $500 billion, according to an annual consumer survey by Landor Associates. Turn on the television or walk down any store aisle, and it's impossible to escape products and services being sold as greener: potato chips, household cleaners, garage doors - even trash hauling.
One marketing consultant calls the phenomenon "shop for salvation." It began in earnest with rising public concern about global warming, though marketers now also highlight other environmental benefits. Still, green buying won't come close to cutting emissions 50 percent worldwide, the amount that the leading scientific authority on global warming says will be needed by 2050 to avert the worst consequences.
Marketers, some environmentalists and marketing specialists say, are merely tapping into people's desire to feel like they're saving the earth - but not sacrificing their lifestyle.
"That's the paradox," said Frederic Brunel, associate professor of marketing at Boston University. "Most people agree green solutions are better than less green solutions, but how green? You could have the green McMansion with energy efficiency, but well, the house is still 6,000 square feet. . . . We need goals and standards."
The marketing of faux green products is now so widespread that there is a term for the practice - "greenwashing."
Read more via greenchange.org