Canada’s competition police crack down on greenwashing

Canada’s Competition Bureau, the federal body that polices anti-competitive behaviour and misleading advertising, is expanding its mission to the world of greenwashing. The agency is reportedly getting ready to crack down on companies that make “green” product and service claims that aren’t backed up by the facts. It’s also releasing industry guidelines that were developed alongside the Canadian Standards Association. The guidelines will define what can be called “recyclable” and will require that any green claim made by a company be backed up with hard data. According to the Globe and Mail, “Under the new guidelines, companies won’t be allowed to make vague or non-specific claims about their products. They’ll also be restricted from calling a product as ‘free’ of a particular chemical or compound if that substance was never used in the first place.”

This could prove a valuable exercise for consumers, which want assurances they’re not being misled by marketing spin. Many companies have jumped on the green bandwagon by simply repurposing existing product so they appear as “green.” There was bound to be a backlash, as I pointed out in my beginning-of-the-year predictions for 2008. It’s unclear how the Competition Bureau will go about enforcing these rules, but it will certainly inject a bit of “green chill” during brainstorming sessions at advertising and marketing firms.

Canada’s competition police crack down on greenwashing

Canada’s Competition Bureau, the federal body that polices anti-competitive behaviour and misleading advertising, is expanding its mission to the world of greenwashing. The agency is reportedly getting ready to crack down on companies that make “green” product and service claims that aren’t backed up by the facts. It’s also releasing industry guidelines that were developed alongside the Canadian Standards Association. The guidelines will define what can be called “recyclable” and will require that any green claim made by a company be backed up with hard data. According to the Globe and Mail, “Under the new guidelines, companies won’t be allowed to make vague or non-specific claims about their products. They’ll also be restricted from calling a product as ‘free’ of a particular chemical or compound if that substance was never used in the first place.”

This could prove a valuable exercise for consumers, which want assurances they’re not being misled by marketing spin. Many companies have jumped on the green bandwagon by simply repurposing existing product so they appear as “green.” There was bound to be a backlash, as I pointed out in my beginning-of-the-year predictions for 2008. It’s unclear how the Competition Bureau will go about enforcing these rules, but it will certainly inject a bit of “green chill” during brainstorming sessions at advertising and marketing firms.

GE demonstrates roll-to-roll organic LED manufacturing

The cost of manufacturing organic LEDs will need to fall dramatically if they’re ever going to be a competitive lighting technology — i.e. attractive to mainstream consumers. GE announced today it has demonstrated a roll-to-roll manufacturing process that spits out organic light-emitting diodes the same way newspaper presses spit out tomorrow’s news. The company is calling it a “major milestone,” and said the process could also be adapted to produce organic solar PV cells and rollup displays. “It’s now easier to envision OLEDs becoming another high-efficiency GE offering, like LEDs, fluorescent, halogen or high-efficiency incandescent,” said Michael Petras, vice-president of electrical distribution and lighting at GE Consumer and Industrial. The demonstration comes after a four-year, $13 million research collaboration between GE Global Research, Energy Conversion Devices (ECD), and the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. ECD’s subsidiary, United Solar Ovonic, is using the approach to mass-produce its flexible Uni-Solar brand solar laminates, the company said.