Friday, August 15, 2008

Greenwashing by Vendors

First, let me apologize to Greenette - this post is officially a "vent."

You know you're in for a long presentation and the vendor asks how many of the attendees are "LEED Certified." (For those of you not in the know, BUILDINGS are certified, PEOPLE are accredited.). The other one I really like is when vendors talk about the LEEDS system.

As a major A/E firm, we regularly have vendors come in to present their latest products to us. Presentations range from half hour wine & cheese events with product displays to two-hour long learning sessions. Products range from windows to concrete to wall coverings and furnitures. And the knowledge of the vendors ranges dramatically as well.

Many of our vendors are quite knowledgeable about sustainable design, the USGBC, and the LEED system(s). Unfortunately, many are not. The ones that really irritate me are those that pretend to be knowledgeable. It's one thing to fess up to ignorance, another thing to say your company is really "into green" and then tell us that your product will get us six LEED points.

It's not completely wrong...sure, the product could be made of recycled content, locally manufactured, etc, etc... It might contribute to credit achievement, but that product in and of itself is going to rack your project up a whopping ZERO credits.

I know every time I hear these sorts of claims I make note not to spec materials from that vendor. But, for the greater good and for those customers who don't know better, vendors should be monitored for greenwashing their sales pitches...and punished for misleading clients!


Green-A said...

ha. I know exactly what you mean! I feel bad for the vendors who don't even realize what they don't know, you know? I think it is a great testament to how knowledgeable our profession is that we question everything and don't just swallow all the green buzz hook, line and sinker.

Anonymous said...

There are also the ones who claim their products are LEED certified.

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing a list sometime ago of green "certification" programs that were industry sponsored, not independent third party programs. Anybody know where to find such a list?

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