Greenwash Action supports progress toward a healthy, biodiverse and climatically-stable world by defending programs that represent true environmental leadership and challenging special interests that are using greenwash to confuse the marketplace. Greenwash Action’s immediate focus is the green building sector where the threat to leadership is immediate and pressing.
We are a joint initiative of Sierra Club and Greenpeace and a project of Earth Island Institute.
Environmental leadership programs, standards, and tools have grown dramatically in prominence over the last decade. Those with the most integrity and success are changing the marketplace and supporting significant investment in more environmentally sustainable practices. Notable examples include the LEED and Living Building Challenge in the building sector and Forest Stewardship Council in the forest sector.
However, special interests in the timber, plastics and chemical industries are seeking to slow the progress driven by the leadership programs by introducing competing standards that label products or practices as "green" but in reality have limited environmental benefit, and then marketing them as cheaper and more business-friendly alternatives.
These industry sponsored knock offs mimic the language, structure, and governance structures of the leadership programs, but at their core they protect the industries that fund them instead of challenging them to improve. From the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a program created by major forest products companies and industry trade associations, to Green Globes, a “green” building rating system supported by the timber, vinyl and chemical industries, the special interest's playbook is consistent, well-funded and all too effective.
Read our position on Leadership vs. Greenwash Standards >
With climate change denial being the most dangerous example, this is all part of the Big Lie - the manipulation of "science," media and politics -- that obstructs progress toward the change we so urgently need, and puts the narrow interests of the few over the collective interest of all people, of all life.
To defend true environmental leadership and push back on the special interests, we need to equip ourselves with the facts that support our cause.
We need to get mobilized. Please share this website and its contents with other people who care about green building.
We are all about taking direct action and creating opportunities for collective action. Join us.
“Greenwashing is a major impediment to environmental progress on climate, forests, toxics, and many other problem areas. I have been tracking Greenwash Action since its conception, and I believe this is the right initiative at the right time.”
CEO, Bullitt Center
Chair, Earth Day Network