Stop Whole Foods Greenwashing

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Apr 11, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Environmental Affairs Council, acting on behalf of the public interest, filed an action today with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC: 27.74, +0.01, +0.03%) urging the Commission to investigate Whole Foods environmental marketing claims surrounding its paper grocery bags.

“Whole Foods Market, Inc. is up to its old tricks again,” said Steve Hamilton, president of the Environmental Affairs Council. “The company is engaged in a comprehensive marketing scheme involving false, misleading, and unsubstantiated claims about the environmental benefits of the paper grocery bags it distributes to consumers. It is ‘greenwashing’ at its worst. The complaint filed with the FTC speaks for itself, and I encourage others to look into these practices.”

The Environmental Affairs Council contends that Whole Foods “directly and by implication claims, without appropriate scientific support, that shopping at Whole Foods as opposed to other supermarkets is better for the environment, because Whole Foods provides only ‘100% recycled’ paper grocery bags and has phased out plastic bags. This paper vs. plastic debate is a serious, complicated, and unsettled scientific issue undeserving of such simple and deceptive treatment. Whole Foods further compounds and supports this scheme by falsely identifying the recycled content of its paper shopping bags,” said EAC President Steve Hamilton.

“By embarking on its false and unsubstantiated anti-plastic publicity stunt, Whole Foods is seeking to boost its profit margin and enhance its manufactured image as an environmentally friendly corporation. Whole Foods publicity stunt is yet another example of a purportedly environmentally friendly corporation ‘Greenwashing’ the general public by deceiving consumers about the environmental benefits of its products. Whole Foods self-serving marketing scheme is being advanced at the expense of consumers, the environment, and truthful scientific debate,” continued Hamilton.

Whole Foods “faux-enviro” initiative is being supported by paper bag manufacturers such as Duro Bag Manufacturing Co., Whole Foods paper bag manufacturing partner and the largest paper grocery bag manufacturer in the U.S. Paper bag manufacturers such as Duro have a significant financial stake in ensuring that paper bags are promoted at the expense of plastic bags, regardless of whether that result is achieved by deceiving consumers and harming the environment.

A copy of the FTC complaint and supporting documentation is posted on the Environmental Affairs Council website here.

Source: Fox Business

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