Tiger Brands greenwashing?

ImageThis is a record of my investigation into what appears to be typical “green-washing” advertising practices by Tiger Brands in South Africa.

Bio Classic fabric conditioner

Bio Classic fabric conditioner

Following this is a record of our correspondence so far. I will update accordingly:

From: Dylan Barsby [mailto:dylanbarsby@gmail.com
Sent: 20 May 2014 01:35 PM
To: Consumer Services
Subject: Enquiry about your product

Hello there,

I was in Pick n Pay in Gardens Centre, Cape Town yesterday and I looked at the label information on your “Bio Classic fabric conditioner” bags. I noticed it mentions “environmentally friendly” on the packaging, but offers absolutely no further information on how it might qualify for that status.

The South African Advertising Standards Authority states, among others, that “advertisements containing general statements such as “environmentally friendly”, “ozone friendly” or “green” or graphics or symbols designed to convey a similar environmental message, will not be permitted unless qualified by a description of the benefit conferred, for example: “ozone friendly -free from CFCs” “


Please explain to me how this product is “environmentally friendly” if, indeed, it is?

Kind regards,
Dylan John Barsby
+27 (0)73 220 5305

Desmond Govender replied on 24th May:

Good Day Mr. Barsby;

We are in receipt of your e-mail and thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Please receive confirmation that our formulation includes an ingredient which is biodregadable hence useage thereof does not impact negatively on waste water treatment plants.

We can assure you that we value consumer related feedback and have circulated your response to our Technical and Marketing Divisions as well.

Kind Regards
Desmond Govender

My response Sunday 25th May…

Thanks for your response Desmond.
You’ve confirmed for me that your labelling is quite clearly in violation of ASA guidelines and I will be bringing this to their attention.1) The description “environmentally friendly” is not qualified on your packaging, as it should be.

2) The fact that ONE ingredient in your formula is biodegradable does not make your ENTIRE product “environmentally friendly”. This is blatant green-washing which is a destructive, irresponsible and despicable practice.

I refer you once again to ASA’s guidelines: http://goo.gl/wuQbS1

I urge you to pay specific attention to points: 2.1; 2.3 & 2.4.

This article is also relevant http://goo.gl/j73Mdn

Tiger Brands’ actions come down to nothing more than Profit over People and Planet.



I have reported this to ASA via two channels and will report on their response.



Greenwashing – How to be a conscientious consumer in South Africa

7416783d5e67a11b55af760d3b9ea183_LLINK: Greenwashing – How do we use this concept for good?

One of my favourite articles on how advertisers trick us into thinking that a supplier is making efforts towards environmental responsibility. Once you read this, you’ll realise just how many lies surround us. This will help you figure out who and what to check and avoid.

I intend to share any future correspondence with suppliers regarding misleading product labelling. My first will be about some questions I asked Tiger Brands about their so-called “environmentally friendly” Bio Classic fabric conditioner.

Also click here to see the South African Advertising Standards Authority’s guidelines on Advertising containing environmental claims


This is from TERRY BISSON of the UNIVERSE Science Fiction Writer – just something that I enjoy.


“They’re made out of meat.”


“Meat. They’re made out of meat.”


“There’s no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They’re completely meat.”

“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?”

“They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them. The signals come from machines.”

“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”

They made the machines. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Meat made the machines.”

“That’s ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You’re asking me to believe in sentient meat.”

“I’m not asking you, I’m telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they’re made out of meat.”

“Maybe they’re like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage.”

“Nope. They’re born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn’t take long. Do you have any idea what’s the life span of meat?”

“Spare me. Okay, maybe they’re only part meat. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside.”

“Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads, like the weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They’re meat all the way through.”

“No brain?”

“Oh, there’s a brain all right. It’s just that the brain ismade out of meat! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”

“So … what does the thinking?”

“You’re not understanding, are you? You’re refusing to deal with what I’m telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat.”

“Thinking meat! You’re asking me to believe in thinking meat!”

“Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal!  Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?”

“Omigod. You’re serious then. They’re made out of meat.”

“Thank you. Finally. Yes. They are indeed made out of meat. And they’ve been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years.”

“Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?”

“First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual.”

“We’re supposed to talk to meat.”

“That’s the idea. That’s the message they’re sending out by radio. ‘Hello. Anyone out there. Anybody home.’ That sort of thing.”

“They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?”
“Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat.”

“I thought you just told me they used radio.”

“They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat.”

“Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?”

“Officially or unofficially?”


“Officially, we are required to contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe, without prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing.”

“I was hoping you would say that.”

“It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?”

“I agree one hundred percent. What’s there to say? ‘Hello, meat. How’s it going?’ But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?”

“Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can’t live on them. And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact.”

“So we just pretend there’s no one home in the Universe.”

“That’s it.”

“Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? You’re sure they won’t remember?”

“They’ll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we’re just a dream to them.”

“A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat’s dream.”

“And we marked the entire sector unoccupied.”

“Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?”

“Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again.”

“They always come around.”

“And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the Universe would be if one were all alone …”


(Thanks for your interest in my work. If you enjoyed this little piece, give a dollar to a homeless person.)

See the source here: Meat.