Ecopornography,” more commonly known as greenwashing, is a term that applies to any entity that disseminates disinformation in order to promote an environmentally friendly public image without actually taking significant action to protect the environment. Greenwashing is pervasive and a nearly unavoidable component of consumers’ evaluations of potential purchases. Food producers and packagers are often guilty of greenwashing their products to appeal to the environmentally conscious consumer by using such terms as “free range” or “all natural.” The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has set standards for the use of the word “organic” on food labels. These standards, while significantly more meaningful than those behind the “free range” label, are by no means the most stringent in the world. Is the USDA organic label indicative of an environmentally friendly product or is it greenwashing?
Mensing, Blake M. “USDA Organic: Ecopornography or a Label Worth Searching For?” Sustainable Development Law & Policy, Fall 2008, 24, 70.