Green washing

White wine at sunset
I find shopping frustrating. Truth be told, I don't like it. There is so much to think about: food miles, production location, fair trade, fair wages, child labour, organic/not organic, company owner, packaging, etc. And sometimes in the back of my mind a remembered trade sanction, did it end, is it on going, was there a new one? Phew. So much to think about in order to make each of those purchases count. I am a child of the 80s. I really want to believe that what I buy matters and that each choice somehow is a little vote for how I want food and other items produced.

The other day while looking for an organic white from Europe (because of food miles, I try to buy European wine while I am living in Europe), I noticed a new sticker on the bottle. It said: "Feel Green" (in English not Danish) and had a nice leaf on it. I reached for it thinking it might be an organic sticker I wasn't familiar with but it wasn't. It was to "certify" that the wine had carbon neutral delivery. Hmmm..This seems to have added another dimension I need to account for while shopping and I think might also be an example of green-washing.

It turns out that being carbon-neutral is something that some wineries are thinking about. Some are trying to make their whole operations carbon-neutral and there are apparently carbon-neutral retailers too. But, try as I might I haven't found this "feel green" carbon neutral delivery on a list of ecolabels and nothing about carbon neutral delivery certification. See, the carbon neutral delivery part confuses me. Whose delivery is certified? The winery to the bottler? The supplier warehouse to the importer's warehouse? I know it can't be the supermarket's delivery since not all the wine bottles had this sticker on it and why would they certify some brands and not others. And what advantage does a winery think they get when they certify carbon neutral delivery of a non-organic wine? And why just delivery why not the whole winery or the whole wine making process?

So, while it does appear that I should try and support those wineries that are carbon-neutral (and I will try to!), it also makes me think that some green-washing is going on here. I think a little clip from the absolutely wonderful This Hour Has 22 Minutes  helps to explain green-washing.


nacherluver said...

All good questions. Green washing is frustrating. Especially considering most consumers are not label savvy and trust what they read. Wouldn't it be amazing if we actually could trust things to be taken at word? Carbon Neutral is an important part of taking care of our planet. Perhaps that is the winery's first step as it takes many, many years of switching to organic to be able to label yourself organic. If they have been using pesticide and stop, there are an allotted number of years the land must be pesticide free to be legitimately organic. Perhaps they're just green washing. Great thoughts sparked by the label. I would write to the company to find out more and to let them know people are paying attention, it does matter, and you promote them furthering their footprints by avoiding toxins in their process. I love writing companies. The more people that care and write in, the more they hear the consumer voice. Otherwise they only hear the dollar signs at the checkouts.
Thanks for including the video.

julochka said...

oh no! another thing to think about and in connection with white wine (absolutely essential in this house), no less...and i think i may have also accidentally bought israeli avocados today and as far as i've heard, they're still not being nice to the palestinians. conscious consumption is hard.