News Release, May 2 2013: Top Green Scam Award Goes to Canada’s “Responsible Resource Development”


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Canada’s “Responsible Resource Development” Ads are ranked Top Green Scam of 2013
For Immediate Release | May 2, 2013
CONTACT: Jeff Gang,

Boston, MA—After a week of voting, the public has chosen as the biggest green scam of 2013: the Canadian government’s “Responsible Resource Development” ads, promoting tar sands oil.

The contest, sponsored by The Green Life Online, was part of the annual “Don’t Be Fooled” report. This year, after publishing the top 10 picks, the public weighed in, ranking the worst green scams.

“We’re not surprised to see that people are alarmed by these ads,” said Jeff Gang, Coordinator of The Green Life. “The Canadian government is obscuring the truth and distracting the public from the real environmental impacts of expanding tar sands extraction.”

A green scam, according to The Green Life, is a PR or advertising claim that attempts to fool the public by making broad, ambiguous, misleading, or outright false environmental claims. While the FTC’s new guidelines on green advertising are starting to make a difference, plenty of examples still abound.

“We encourage everyone to read the full report, and cast your vote for the worst one,” said Gang.

Here, as ranked by the public, are the top 10 green scams of 2013:

  1. Canada’s “Responsible Resource Development” ads, which mislead the public about to restoring land and misrepresent the government’s initiatives to drastically expand tar sands oil extraction.
  2. Kashi, which sells cereal with GMO ingredients under the “all natural” label
  3. Sustainable Forestry Initiative, which claims to independently oversee green forestry efforts, but is closely linked to the industry.
  4. Audubon International certifies golf courses as green under dubious standards, despite no connection with the National Audubon Society.
  5. Apple advertises the new Retina Macbook Pro laptop as “the world’s greenest,” but experts say it’s the “least repairable, least recyclable” computer in a decade.
  6. Amazon: after FTC action ordering them to stop, Amazon continued selling rayon sheets labeled as “100% bamboo.”
  7. Marine Stewardship Council & McDonald’s: a partnership to sell more “sustainable” McDonald’s fish sandwiches, despite murky standards and a poor record for protecting the environment.
  8. Sherwin-Williams: their Dutch Boy Refresh paint claimed to be “zero-VOC” – but most colors actually contained dangerous VOCs.
  9. Two Sides: a paper-industry group that claims “paper is one of the few truly sustainable products” and pressures companies to use more paper
  10. Organix: a prominent hair care brand whose products aren’t actually organic.


Founded after Earth Day 1990, The Green Life Online is a non-profit organization that helps environmentally-aware and health-conscious citizens make effective decisions about the way they consume and the companies they support.

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