“Future Friendly” – washing green or greenwashing?

Not to say that corporations are perfect today, but even grand corporations like Dupont have made immense progress in translating some of their past environmentally damaging practices into new profit opportunities.
~Maurice Strong

So while I was watching that Feng Shui episode of Penn and Teller’s “Bullshit!” I got hit with an ad for Proctor and Gamble’s “Future Friendly” line. Note the minimalist look…the plain white background, the green crayon, the use of the word “simple.” Uh-huh Uh-huh Uh-huh.

So I decided, let’s check this shit out. Voila, the website. Supposedly there are three areas they’re concentrating on, but there are four categories. Can we not count, Proctor and Gamble?

Area One: Save Water
Note that most of these products are HE. That’s not improving the product, that’s claiming a product is green just because it’s manufactured to work with an appliance that claims to be green. I don’t use HE washing machines because the laundromat doesn’t have them. FAIL.
Cascade ActionPacs? Encourages you to use the “light” cycle on your dishwasher, but doesn’t actually specify how the product itself helps any. I found the ActionPacs at Target, but no mention was made on the package of them being green in any way.The Cascade website is no help at all. FAIL.
Dawn Direct Foam. Supposedly it cleans without water. Apparently you just apply the foam to a sponge and wash the dishes like that. POSSIBLE.

Area Two: Save Energy
Cold-water detergent. Ooooooooooooooooooooo. You don’t need a special detergent to do that, Proctor and Gamble. And it still fails the portion test. And the price? Comprable to Seventh Generation, a brand that doesn’t fail the portion test and does a better job of being green…or at least pretending to go green. FAIL.
Rechargeable batteries? Seriously? That’s not new. I’ve been using rechargeables for years. So while it’s technically green, for the hype I’m going to have to give this one a FAIL.

Area Three: Reduce Waste
The fabric enhancer and Dawn? Sure, they’re concentrated, but you can’t tell me people won’t still pour a conventional amount in there. It’s possible if they made the cap smaller on the Downy, but there’s no way to force people to use less Dawn. The label makes no mention that you should use less of the product. FAIL.
Prilosec. Supposedly reduced packaging. No photos given. POSSIBLE.
PUR water filter. Another case of hyping an existing green product that in an of itself has not been made greener. That gets a FAIL.
I’m uncertain how the Pampers uses less waste. More absorption using less material? I don’t know. POSSIBLE.

Area…Four?: Sustainably Manufactured
Both of these are examples of companies that have reduced the amount of energy their factories use. I’m pretty sure it’s more due to cutting energy costs than actually saving the environment, but I’ll give it to them. PASS.

If you hit up PG.com, you can find examples of even more “greener” products. A lot of package reductions, one of which (the Cover Girl TruBlend) actually flat-out admitted that it was due to consumer preference rather than the environment. The smaller caps for laundry detergent are pretty cool, but other than that this could be a case of the company hyping their cost-cutting as environmentally friendly.

I really loved this, though. Specifically the part about their first goal being to sell more “sustainable” products.

Pass or Fail, Proctor and Gamble? I’ll let you decide, my dear readers.

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2 Responses to ““Future Friendly” – washing green or greenwashing?”

  1. Funny, when I first saw those commercials, I was wondering what you had to say about this. Needless to say I was skeptical, and with good reason.

  2. I say we see where the line goes and if they gradually introduce more improvements as the market shows they’re willing to accept the new branding. I’ll let you know in a year or so.

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