Water and Sanitation Health (WASH) Warns Consumers About Misleading Green Washing Tactics

Group supports recently released FTC "green advertising" guidelines

Dec 08, 2014, 11:37 ET from Water and Sanitation Health (WASH)

SEATTLE, Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Water and Sanitation Health (WASH) President, Eric John Harrison, lauds the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) aggressive scrutiny of green marketing campaigns that tout products to be sustainably produced without the data to back it up.  Harrison believes bananas, and the way some Chiquita are marketed using the Rainforest Alliance's endorsement, is misleading.

The Seattle non-profit is particularly concerned about decisions consumers make based on high-profile marketing that Harrison believes is "deceptive."  Why?  Harrison has seen firsthand the health toll imposed on villagers who live adjacent to many of Chiquita's non-owned farms that produce bananas branded with the Chiquita seal.  According to Harrison, "Pesticides and other chemicals sprayed on crops drift to the lands and waterways near these huge farms, contributing to serious health and water contamination issues for many who live in neighboring villages." Harrison believes the "green" marketing campaign of Chiquita and the Rainforest Alliance is "a perfect example of green washing."

Harrison notes, "According to the Rainforest Alliance, their Seal of Certification conveys that Chiquita's farm and forestry methods are 'good for the people and the planet.' That seal is prominently displayed on Chiquita's homepage.  I have traveled to Guatemalan villages near sourced farms that supply bananas bearing Chiquita's branding and I believe the practices are not green, are not sustainable, in fact are harmful, and I believe this type of advertising needs to stop."

Chiquita sells millions of pounds of bananas from non-owned farms where Harrison believes no legitimate environmental review is conducted and that current practices used on the large banana farms destroy natural ecosystems – particularly clean water sources.  "The health hazard to those who live downwind and downstream is serious," Harrison laments.  "The pesticides and fungicides sprayed on Chiquita's sourced plantations are toxic and seep into wells and rivers that are the villages' water sources."

Harrison continues, "American consumers see the Rainforest Alliance's endorsement splashed over Chiquita's website, and I believe they are given the false notion that the bananas they purchase from Chiquita are sustainably grown."  

Harrison returned from Guatemala last week, where he visited villages near several of Chiquita sourced banana plantations and/or Rainforest Alliance certified farms. Harrison says "after viewing firsthand the environmental wreckage it is my opinion that the certification seals are nothing more than misleading marketing tools designed to appeal to the environmentally and socially conscious consumer."

For further information, go to www.waterandsanitationhealth.org/truthinadvertising

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20141206/162762

SOURCE Water and Sanitation Health (WASH)