In the advertising world, it's not easy to be green, but it sure is easy to say you are.
With more customers wanting to buy healthy and environmentally friendly products, companies have predictably tried to cash in on this movement. They have attempted to market just about everything as green, and one of their favorite words to use is natural. The reason for this choice is that natural is not regulated like the word organic. Organic products have to meet standards to receive official certification, but natural can be used on anything. Check out this video spoofing advertising for "natural" products:
The video is a great example of using communication to challenge rhetoric that obscures the truth. A product's claim to be "natural" doesn't mean anything. If you want healthy products that are free of added chemicals, and you're in the United States, look for a label that says the products are USDA-certified organic.
"Natural" and organic aren't the only environment-related labels out there, so additional efforts have been made to inform consumers about the real meaning of the environmental claims and labels they see. The Natural Resource Defense Council's Smarter Living initiative rates various labels, including "Bird Friendly" and "Fair Trade Certified," for their environmental virtue. To view it, click here.
Remember, all that's natural is not green.