Mireya Navarro

New York Times Writer

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Selling Green

A wedding industry trade magazine interviewed me a few days ago wanting to know how retailers could best appeal to eco-conscious couples.  The answer, these couples say, is simple: walk the walk. One of the biggest challenges consumers face in buying environmentally-sound products and services is how to tell the real green vendor from the greenwasher, those who make false, deceptive and misleading “green” claims. It takes some research to find the real deal, which is why transparency helps. Vendors that truthfully explain on websites and in brochures what makes their product green have an edge. For even more “appeal,” a vendor could also engage in green practices, such as recycling packaging or using fuel-efficient vehicles for deliveries. Sometimes green guides help, but I have found mistakes in some of them. Until there’s a reliable green stamp of approval for most products — like the USDA seal for organic or the Energy Star label for energy-efficient- — or until the environmental impact of products is built into their cost, buyers will have to do some homework of their own before settling on a purchase, from a salad bowl to the rental of a wedding venue to dry cleaning services.

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