Greenwashing Report: Top 5 Global Green Retail Brands

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Many businesses are going green these days, but only the best green businesses would be ranked as one of the Top 5 Global Green Retail Brands – or so you would think. A recent ImagePower survey on global green brands has shown that what people think of as the most eco friendly brands in the U.S. are retail stores you already shop at, and that aren’t necessarily green.

Are the “greenest retail brands” in the U.S. really ‘green’, or is this just another case of serious greenwashing?

5. Starbucks

Recently, Starbucks came out with a commendable CSR report that showed where their environmental efforts had succeeded, and in some cases failed. However, the brand has also famously forced all of its retail outlets to keep a tap running all day, and its paper cup recycling programs still leave something to be desired.

Is this really the 5th greenest US retail brand in the world? No, this is a case of confused consumers, and greenwashing.

4. Apple

On Monday, Steve Jobs announced iCloud, which runs off of the most energy efficient data centers available. We will have to see how that works out once in operation.

However, based on their recycling and non-toxic materials efforts towards Macs, iPhones, iPods and iPads, Apple has done just about everything a modern tech company can do to reduce their environmental footprint.

In this case, it’s surprising consumers think of Apple as ‘green’, but their environmental initiatives still hold up. In this case, thinking green about Apple can be justified.

3. The Walt Disney Company

Even more confusing than Apple or Starbucks being on the list, is Disney. Other than revamping its amusement park rides to be more energy efficient (which they did), is there really any way for Disney to be green?

Is Disney a green business? The amusement parks are certainly aiming to be – and enough so that consumers are convinced as well. But that doesn’t have anything to do with retail stores. In this case, we call greenwashing.

2. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s, the “neighbourhood grocery store” chain with retail outlets across the U.S., and focus on delivering value to their shoppers. As part of this ethos, they order in bulk and buy direct from suppliers. Additionally – though not necessarily green – Trader Joe’s has great community donation programs and is, if not green, a very ethical business.

By making great green products readily available, and cutting down on shipping with bulk orders, we think Trader Joe’s stands up as a green business in the eyes of the consumer.

1. Whole Foods

Another “green grocer”, Whole Foods is known for its wide selection of organic and natural foods. But Whole Foods does a lot more than just sell green food.

In 2009, Whole Foods ran two great green initiatives that helped get teens involved with environmental activities, as well as investing in alternative energy and retrofitting their stores.

This year, Whole Foods launched the Do Something Reel environmental film festival that toured the United States, showing screening of environmental documentaries in every city it stopped in.

Of all the U.S. retail businesses consumers think of as green, it’s a relief to know Whole Foods lands the #1 spot – because they truly are a great green business.

  • Ian Andrew

    As the Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greener Ideal, Ian has been a driving force in environmental journalism and sustainable lifestyle advocacy since 2008. With over a decade of dedicated involvement in environmental matters, Ian has established himself as a respected expert in the field. Under his leadership, Greener Ideal has consistently delivered independent news and insightful content that empowers readers to engage with and understand pressing environmental issues.

    Ian’s expertise extends beyond editorial leadership; his hands-on experience in exploring and implementing sustainable practices equips him with practical knowledge that resonates with both industry professionals and eco-conscious audiences. This blend of direct involvement and editorial oversight has positioned Ian as a credible and authoritative voice in environmental journalism and sustainable living.

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