Debunking the myth of Greenwashing

All that glitters is not gold… It is also a valid saying explaining false “green” advertising in design and architecture! If you feel that you have entrusted some companies and found out that they are not as environmental as they are claiming, then this blog post might interest you!

“Green” labels are often appearing in the market, to meet the consumers’ demand for environmentally goods and services. However, this trend is being accompanied with many false claims misleading the well-intentioned consumers. How can we find out the product’s true “green” credentials?

Due to this “Greenwashing” trend, many consumers are distrusting environmental claims. False environmental marketing practices have been followed up and their patterns identified in the “Six Sins of Greenwashing”:

  • Sin of the Hidden Trade-off: highlighting the product’s single environmental attribute without mentioning other important environmental aspects related to manufacturing impact such as air and water emissions.
  • Sin of No Proof: omitting accessible supporting information and certifications by a reliable third-party for products.
  • Sin of Vagueness: using vague words such as “chemical-free”, “non-toxic”, “all natural”, “environmentally friendly” and “eco-conscious” without further elaboration.
  • Sin of Irrelevance: distracting consumers with truthful but unimportant information such as mentioning “CFC-free” claims on products whereas CFCs have been banned 30 years ago and no product has been manufactured with it since then.
  • Sin of Lesser of Two evils: placing environmental qualifications on products with questionable environmental value such as “organic cigarettes” and “green insecticides and herbicides”.
  • Sin of Fibbing: misusing or misrepresenting certifications such as Energy-Star logo on unregistered appliances.

Don’t fall in the trap of vague and irrelevant information. Look at evidence and certifications by qualified independent standard-setting party such as EcoLogoCM and FSCR (Forest Stewardship Council), and understand the environmental impact and the whole life-cycle of the product from manufacturing to packaging and transportation.

Most importantly, don’t let these false-claimers discourage you from your environmental commitment! Come clean about Greenwashing and report any false-claimers! You can do so on the following website:



Anara Tower in Dubai shaped as a wind-turbine superstructure. The turbine is not functional, and only put for aesthetic purposes, thus eluding the investors!



Tricking consumers into thinking that Organic Cigarettes won’t harm their health!


About tOD

Active since 2010, the architecture lab theOtherDada defends an alternative position towards the current practice of sustainability through exploration of the context and medium, invoking new relationships between climate, landscape, and inhabitants. Informed by our research into biomimicry, we aim to connect to the natural ecosystems of sites to understand and consequently devise new potential living habitats. theOtherDada works within a collaborative process between architects, scientists, botanists, artists, economists and craftsmen.

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