While the FIJI Water Company planned to become a “carbon negative” company in 2010 by purchasing carbon offset credits, its product, shown here in New York City, still requires the use of more natural resources than any other bottled water, as it must travel more than 5,000 miles to reach the closest U.S. city.

Photo credit: Wikipedia/Verne Equinox

The term greenwashing (a portmanteau of “green” and “whitewash”) was coined in the 1980s by Jay Westerveld. Westerveld was an endangered species biologist and environmental activist who disapproved of hotel chains that framed the reuse of towels and sheets as an environmentally influenced choice, when really it was an economic decision. Greenwashing was originally used to describe the practice of overselling a product's “green” characteristics or misleading consumers through ...

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