Wall Street had a stormy 2008, but there is a silver lining: Industry leaders are now turning to all things "eco" as a new source of (genuine?) green.

Here are the top five green marketing stories from a volatile year—and what they may mean for your business in 2009.

1. Advertising Goes Green and Gets Noticed

The Story: Despite budget cuts across the board, cause-related marketing still enjoyed 3% growth in 2008, and now represents one in nine dollars spent on sponsorships. Wal-Mart, GE, and HSBC won the first-ever Green Effie awards, while other companies like Innocent Smoothies, Cotton USA, and Fiat and EasyJet got accused of making false green marketing claims.

With eco-savvy shoppers on the prowl for truly environmentally sound companies and products, a new site—Greenwashing Index—allows consumers to rate companies' green ad claims.

The Spin: Green marketing campaigns are proving to be a good investment, but they had better hold up under public scrutiny, because consumers also wise up to "greenwashing."

The prospect of free PR from Green Effies and other awards that are popping up will make green an easier sale for marketing departments.

2. Federal Trade Commission Updates Green Marketing Guidelines

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jacquelyn A. Ottman is president of J. Ottman Consulting, Inc., advisers to industry on green marketing and eco-innovation. She is the author of Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation. Contact her via www.greenmarketing.com (info@greenmarketing.com).