There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the difference between green and sustainable products. Most people use the term interchangeably, when the truth is they are two very different things.
“Green” focuses on environmental impacts along with how products or services affect consumer’s health. A product can be classified as green as long as it doesn’t create greater negative impacts compared to a traditional product. However, this doesn’t mean that the product has NO negative impacts. Green products do not consider the complete manufacturing impacts of the product over its life cycle. This means that a product could be made from child or slave labor in a developing country, but still be considered environmentally preferable because it has reduced health and environmental impacts compared to the traditional product.
Sustainability encompasses much, much more. Sustainability looks more deeply at the other ways people’s lives are affected. It considers workers’ wages, diversity, and other social equality issues. It also encompasses environmental issues such as the effects of product manufacturing, sources of raw materials, transportation, and impacts of disposal.