Proposition 37 Greenwash: Organic Brands with Corporate Ties Fund Opposition to GMO Labeling

Kashi is one of the organic/natural brands that’s fighting to keep consumers in the dark about GMOs.

Why are some well-known organic brands fighting to keep consumers in the dark about GMOs by contributing to the “No on Prop 37” campaign?

The Cornucopia Institute recently updated their infographic [pdf] which shows exactly which organic brands are – and more importantly are NOT – supporting the campaign in California to label genetically engineered foods (GMOs). Several well-known organic brands – most of which are owned by larger agribusinesses and food conglomerates – are actually fighting to keep consumers in the dark about genetically altered foods by actively contributing to the “No on Prop 37” campaign.

Of course, it’s all about profits, and these companies are just one arm of huge corporations that don’t want consumer awareness to hurt their profits. Check out the Cornucopia Institute infographic to see which organic brands are fighting and supporting Prop 37:

Prop 37 Infographic

I was stunned to learn that trusted brands such as Honest Tea, Kashi, Naked Juice, Izze, Lara Bar, Horizon and several other organic and β€œnatural” brands all were contributors to the $34 million dollar campaign against GMO labeling. Shocking really.

First, this is clearly one of the basic strategies of greenwashing: political spin, aka. “advertising or speaking about corporate ‘green’ commitments while lobbying against pending or current environmental laws and regulations,” and while greenwashing genetically modified crops is not new, this goes too far.

What’s so bad about this?

As I’ve said before on this blog (about Frito-Lays and POM and Skinny Girl Cocktails to name a few), greenwashing is dangerous because it erodes consumer confidence and diminishes the value of legitimate environmental successes. Therefore, scrutiny is essential.

What can you do?

  • Sign a petition.
  • Ask large organic brands/companies that are missing in action to pony up. Talk is cheap.
  • Tell the corporate players opposing your right to know what’s in your food that if they want your business, they can’t sell-out organic values.
  • Thank independent organic business that have put their money where their mouth is.

You can use your big green purse to support (buy) good brands and avoid (don’t buy) bad brands. Don’t stop there.Β  Use your blogs and your tweets to call out these bad brands. I’ve created a Twitter list, Bad Organic Brands, so you can send tweets to each one telling them to stop funding the “No to Prop 37” campaign.Β  Don’t forget, your big green purse and your social media leverage is truly powerful.

Image Credit: Remixed Creative Commons photo by Chasqui

Written by Jennifer Kaplan

Jennifer Kaplan writes about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for Insteading (and EatDrinkBetter.com before the two sites merged) and is the author of Greening Your Small Business. She is an Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone and was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster, an MFA and an MBA – follow her on Twitter.

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