Susanne Peticolas Spoke at the Institute for Supply Management – NJ Dinner on Greenwashing

Susanne Peticolas, a Director in the Gibbons Environmental Department, was the Dinner Speaker at the April meeting of the Institute for Supply Management – New Jersey, Inc. on April 13, 2011. She addressed the issue of greenwashing, unjustifiable product claims of being environmentally sensitive and strategies to help companies avoid the problem.

Ms. Peticolas explained that sustainability has become an increasingly important corporate aspiration in the face of global warming concerns and the U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gases under the Copenhagen Accords. Among common corporate sustainability practices is buying “green” products from “green” vendors. Although there are some third party independent verification systems, such as Energy Star, Forest Stewardship Council, and LEED, much of the green marketplace operates on a caveat emptor basis. The proposed Green Guides published by the Federal Trade Commission in October 2010, offer guidance on what kind of eco-friendly claims are appropriate. The Guides are a useful tool, backed by the FTC’s enforcement powers, and provide some check on the marketplace, but cannot substitute for a savvy and informed purchasing manager.

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