Greenwashing, Clorox Goes Green, Sierra Club Approves the Use of their Logo

Greenwashing is normally a bad term for any company/product. But, Clorox may be able to use this term for their Green Works products. Clorox is transforming their company to be Green.  They purchased Burt's Bee products.

Today, the couple’s quirky enterprise is owned by the Clorox Company, a consumer products giant best known for making bleach, which bought it for $913 million in November. Clorox plans to turn Burt’s Bees into a mainstream American brand sold in big-box stores like Wal-Mart. Along the way, Clorox executives say, they plan to learn from unusual business practices at Burt’s Bees — many centered on environmental sustainability. Clorox, the company promises, is going green.

The Treehugger Blog even writes favorably about this move,and has the endorsement from the Sierra Club.

The bottle itself has a couple of things that make what's on the outside almost as compelling as the cleaner inside. First of all, the Sierra Club (whose Conservation Director, Greg Haegele, blogs here at TreeHugger) will endorse the product by placing their logo on the label. "We'll definitely have some folks who are surprised by this decision, but also people who are pretty excited about it," said Sierra Club spokeswoman Orli Cotel. "We are supporting Green Works in hopes that more people will have access to these kinds of products, some of which aren't even available in the middle of the country."

The Sierra Club approved the use of their logo as part of the Green Works brand after it asked several of its volunteer committees to review the cleaners; it's the first time the non-profit has given its blessing to a household cleaning product. "We hope we are transforming the marketplace by doing this," said Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope. "These products are clean, they're green, they're not going to hurt you, and they're not going to hurt the environment."

This brings us to one of the other eyebrow-raisers: Clorox cheerfully lists the ingredients for Green Works on the label -- something it doesn't do for its conventional cleaners -- and also prominently displays the Clorox logo. They're hoping that the equation of "trusted brand (and the proven efficacy that comes with it) + transparency = success," and Joel Makower thinks it'll be a pretty big deal: "This is a kind of watershed moment. We finally have major consumer companies taking the green marketplace seriously, and not as an afterthought." (He also did some consulting on the project).

The Green momentum continues to build.  There are interesting lessons to be learned by what Clorox has done.  Buying Green expertise to change the mindset in the company, creating a critical mass of people who think sustainability and green. Working with a non-profit and consumers to get feedback on their Green initiative.  And the hope that, Trusted Brand + transparency  = success.