Green, eco-friendly, environmentally-friendly, earth-friendly refer to products, services or practices that claim reduced, minimal or no harm for the environment. Note that none of these words are defined by national or international standards. As a result, they are open to interpretation by consumers and businesses.
Environmental claims of a greener product can include one or more of the following aspects (non-exhaustive list):
For a company, these claims can refer to good environmental practices in the operation of their business (non-exhaustive list):
The terms “eco-friendly”, “green”, “sustainable” can be misused in corporate communications promulgating an image of environmental responsibility, which in fact is unfounded or intentionally misleading.
How to select “green” products and services?
It is not possible to define a perfectly “green” product or service due to the complexity and interconnection of systems (people, air, water, land, wildlife...). Generally-speaking, the greenest products are those where all materials and energy used in the making, usage, and disposal of the product is contained in a small eco-system, and without degrading it. It is important that the consumer (business or individual) remains alert about environmental claims and remembers to favour local products, made from renewable/sustainable resources, and for which the discard becomes a resource for someone else to use (reusable, compostable, or recyclable).
An ecolabel is a label issued by an organisation, which certifies that a product or service meets a set of requirements. Those requirements may cover one or several environmental aspects of a product or service. Ecolabels aims to champion better products and facilitate the decision making process of the consumer (individual or business) – Ecolabels in Singapore.