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Greenwashing (Advanced – C2)

Greenwashing - Transcript

Greenwashing is a form of marketing spin in which green marketing is deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly.
Critics of the practice suggest the rise of greenwashing, paired with ineffective regulation, contributes to consumer skepticism of all green claims, and diminishes the power of the consumer to drive companies toward greener manufacturing processes and business operations. Many corporations use greenwashing to improve public perception of their brands. Complex corporate structures can further obscure the big picture.
Without external monitoring and verification, greenwashing strategies amount to corporate posturing and deception. When a company decides to behave responsibly and adopts a sustainable development vision, it may have to change its corporate culture deeply, in order to understand and appropriate the concept. It is not enough to integrate sustainable development into communication to persuade the consumer to buy.
While greenwashing is not new, it has increased in recent years to meet consumer demand for environmentally-friendly goods and services. New regulations and laws aim to discourage companies from using greenwashing to deceive consumers.

Greenwashing - Video

Greenwashing - Video Gap Fill

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Corporate Greenwashing - An Example

Corporate Greenwashing


Greenwashing is when companies pretend to be environmentally friendly to attract customers, but in reality, their actions don’t match their words. One glaring example of corporate greenwashing involves a popular fast-food chain that exaggerated its commitment to sustainability in an attempt to sell more of its products. Here’s what the company did.

False Claims on Packaging

The company in question prominently displays eco-friendly labels on its packaging. It says that they make use of recycled materials, but, upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that only a small percentage of their packaging is made from recycled materials. The misleading labels create a false impression that the company is actively contributing to environmental conservation.

Promises of Renewable Energy

Another aspect of the company’s greenwashing campaign involves claims of sourcing energy from renewable sources. In advertisements and promotional materials, they emphasize their commitment to clean energy. Unfortunately, a closer look at their energy portfolio reveals that the majority still comes from non-renewable sources. The company strategically downplays its reliance on fossil fuels while overstating its commitment to sustainable practices.

Token Green Initiatives

To further mislead their customers, the company engages in token green initiatives. These may include small-scale projects, like planting a few trees or hosting one-off clean-up events. While any effort to contribute positively to the environment is commendable, these initiatives distract attention from the company’s overall unsustainable practices rather than representing a genuine commitment to change.

Impact on Consumer Choices

The consequences of this greenwashing are both serious and real. Consumers, trusting the company’s false claims, may make choices based on the belief that they are supporting an environmentally responsible brand. This undermines the broader goal of promoting authentic sustainability by diverting support and attention away from businesses genuinely dedicated to eco-friendly practices.


This example of corporate greenwashing serves as a example, highlighting the importance of taking a closer look at companies’ environmental claims. It reveals the need for consumers to be informed and discerning, encouraging businesses to adopt genuine sustainability practices rather than relying on deceptive marketing tactics. As environmental awareness grows, the exposure of such greenwashing practices becomes crucial for fostering a truly sustainable marketplace.



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