Going green is no doubt the right thing to do in the current political climate and if you want to help ensure there’s a planet still here for your children and their children, or just save some money and free yourself from a reliance on energy companies, then it can offer the solutions you’re looking for.
However, while this is the case, going green is also so trendy right now and so popular that it’s a great marketing opportunity for businesses that want to make their products stand out against the competition. As such this is an area that companies are able to take advantage of, and there are many examples of businesses doing just that – using the ‘green’’ label to sell their products for extortionate prices and to trick people into buying things that they simply don’t need. Here we will look at some examples of how the ‘go green’ name has been perverted and how to protect yourself from such scams.
The renewable energy industry is unfortunately one that makes a logical target for scam artists. In the biomass sector for instance in the US it was found that there were more than 300 cases of investor fraud through a $30 million Ponzi scheme. This essentially means that there was no biomass investment in this case, and that the fraudsters were using portions the money from the new investors to pay ‘interest’ to the new investors. As a very promising industry that many people don’t fully understand, this is a logical area for such schemes. Make sure if you are going to make any investments in green businesses that you do a lot of homework first.
Commercial Building Work
With the popularity of solar power and other renewable energy sources in the home, and with the large tax incentives, a lot of people are eager to get a contractor to install panels on their roof. Scam artists will often take advantage of this – blinding the potential client with science and then failing to deliver, over charging or lying about the tax benefits that you can gain.
Greenwashing is a term used to describe the practice of lying about the eco friendliness of a product. In some cases a business might not necessarily even make any claim, but just misleadingly use the term ‘eco’ or ‘green’ in the title. Make sure when you buy a ‘green’ product that you know precisely why and how it’s kinder to the environment.
Most of us are willing to pay a little extra to eat a free range egg or drink some fair trade coffee. Unfortunately what we don’t know is how much of that extra charge is used to create a sustainable business and how much of it just lines their pockets. In many cases companies will charge over-the-top prices for a product that may be slightly more energy efficient meaning they look good and we’re out of pocket. Shop discerningly yes, but don’t encourage businesses that take the mickey.