Opinion: Why Green Companies Should Go Clear Instead

It turns out that it is easy being green—too easy. As anyone who’s ever visited a supermarket lately has noticed, brands of all stripes have been slapping labels attesting to eco-friendliness on their products, making all manner of green claims and generally touting their membership in Club Green to anyone and everyone within sight. The problem is that overuse and misuse has robbed green of its meaning. Where once it meant planet-friendly (made with recycled materials, organically grown and the like), now it’s very often used to connote sustainability, with its far broader range of issues, ranging from Workers’ Compensation and Fair Trade to social activism. In sum, green can mean virtually anything. And that suggests it will eventually mean absolutely nothing.