Hail hail to the genius who decided it was time to cut the greenwash from the eco marketplace in Israel. Every product and its neighbor on the supermarket shelf is calling itself green. A new Israeli-made guide is calling out cheats.
A quick look at an Israeli supermarket shelf and you can find products from industrial, chemical companies like Sano producing brochures on products labeled as green. From degradable bags to “green” laundry detergent (green because it is concentrated, of course!), is confusing people.
Confusing them because much of the advertising labels on companies is clearly not true, and consumers eager to do better things for the environment don’t know who or what to trust. Who are the green angels and demons in Israel? Consumers will soon be the judge.
Even at earth-friendly stores like Eden Teva Market, Israel’s equivalent to Whole Foods in the US, there is a bounty of products not earth-friendly or good for you. Some of these, we hope, will also be mentioned in the new consumer guide first coming out in print, then as an electronic guide.
And even earth friendly products by known companies like Ecover are not always 100 percent green.
For English, Russian, Arabic and Amharic speakers in Israel – we don’t know how well your language will be represented, but Hebrew is a good start to changing the ugly face of greenwashing in Israel. (Read here about the Green Man TV show in Israel canceled over bribery and greenwashing.)
We don’t mean to assume that companies who greenwash are evil. This new guide launched yesterday by the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Consumer Protection Authority will also play a positive role in educating companies about the practice of social responsibility and what is a truly sustainable way of doing business.
In the United States companies now face lawsuits if they mislabel goods. We are not quite there yet in Israel and the rest of the Middle East, but green consumer guides is a first step to changing, then enforcing the rules of the advertising trade.
The new guide, for instance, will include details on what products can degrade (like plastic into little bits) and which can actually decompose. One marketer representing an Israeli company contacted me once asking why I didn’t review her company’s degradable plastic bags. They are not environmentally-friendly I told her. Bags that simply break up into millions of tiny bits may be worse than those that don’t. She in a huff insisted they were green. I ended the conversation at that.
The biggest environmental joke in Israel today is that fact that one of the country’s biggest bureaucratic
idiots pencil pushers is now the environmental minister. Still, I will let Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz offer his canned quote. I honestly believe he has no idea what any of this means, and assume it was written by his advisors, but here goes:
“The term ‘green’ should not be taken in vain. If a company paints its smokestacks green, that does not mean the pollution has gone down and if a building company paints its gate green, it does not mean the neighborhood is environmentally friendly. A company that wants to claim this will have to prove it.”
There you have it. The guides were released yesterday but there is no news yet on where consumers can find them – hopefully they will be at the check out counter. If there is still space. If anyone knows where to get a guide give us a shout out in the comments below. The ministry website in English hasn’t been updated since Passover.
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