Officials to examine standards for 'green' products

The Sacramento BeeApril 8, 2009 

From "fair trade" to "Earth advantage," American consumers are faced with a dizzying array of Earth - friendly labels on everything from tennis shoes to two by fours.

Amid growing concern about a lack of oversight of green marketing, industry and government officials are meeting starting today at a hotel in Arlington, Va., to discuss how to make the labels more credible.

"The issue is consumer confusion," said Elizabeth Neiman, director of communications for the American National Standards Institute which is sponsoring the event, titled "Toward Product Standards for Sustainability."

"What does if mean if something is green?" Neiman said. "What does it mean if something is sustainable?"

Currently, some labels are independently verified, but others aren't. And government verification is minimal.

Even before the workshop begins, it is drawing questions from some who say its focus does not seem to adequately address ways to ensure labeling indicates which products are truly green and which less so — or not at all.

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