08/04/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Greenwashing: The Six Sins Of Greenwashing

Greenwashing, the term used when a company misleads a consumer regarding its environmental practices, can make it difficult for the average eco-newbie to know what's truly best for Mother Earth.

Terra Choice, a Canadian environmental marketing agency, is attempting to make it easier for you to decipher who are the good guys and who is doing the greenwashing.

The company lists the Six Sins of Greenwashing on its website so you can wise up to the tricks.

1. Sin of the Hidden Trade-Off
The example given is paper, and though that paper might come from a sustainably managed forest, there are trade-offs such as the impacts of milling and transportation that are ignored.

2. Sin of No Proof
Personal care products are mentioned here. Shampoos and conditioners often claim to not have been tested on animals, but offer no proof or way to verify the information.

3. Sin of Vagueness
Terms such as "all-natural," "environmentally friendly" and other vague or unregulated descriptors can mislead consumers.

read all the greenwashing sins here