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Greenwashing: Misleading Claims Of Environmental Benefits

1625 words - 7 pages

Companies are becoming more competitive and consumers are concerned on the environmental problems. The organisations are attracting consumers with promotions of Green technology and services and companies claiming it to be green. In the last several years, there are companies issuing Green claims and accused of Greenwashing. The green products and Greenwash products are labeled to be eco-friendly while they are not and overstatement of high ratings of environmental claims. This also causes confusion and difficult to determine genuine eco-friendly products from a Greenwashing product. Many labels such as organic, earth-friendly or biodegradable are tools of marketing to attract consumers. Many consumers ask, “ Are they genuine green product and how much does it impact to the environment?”

Greenwashing is defined as misleading claims of environmental benefits of a service, technology, product, or company practices in regards to environmental practices in the company. In other words misleading information by organisations, which abuses the environment and covered up to be a positive eco-friendly product. In a Oxford English Dictionary, they define greenwashing the early 1990s as” ‘the creation or propagation of an unfounded or misleading environmentalist image’.” (Michael Adams, Marina Nehme, Pg. 420 Green Marketing to Greenwashing) It is a marketing technique. It is also described as a firm behaviour as giving poor environmental performance and good environmental communication performance, known as Brown Firms.
Greenwashing can be committed in seven ways or “the seven sins” by Terrachoice which is an environmental service provider and they are: The sin of trade off, Sin of no proof, Sin of Vagueness, Sin of Irrelevance, Sin of lesser of two evils, Sin of Fibbing, and Sin of Worshipping False Labels. Any of these are committed are claim to be greenwashing. In 2008/2009 Terrachoice surveyed 95% of the products commit to one of the sins of greenwashing, meaning it has skyrocketed of incidence of greenwashing to have negative impacts to consumer confidence and the environment.

To determine the claims of greenwashing in corporations are valid, there must be reasons and evidence of the organisations doings. We have to identify the existing works in strategies, psychology, management and sociology, which encourage the behaviour to firms and individuals in various circumstances (Delmas Burbano, Introduction Pg. 4)

A common tactic of greenwashing is spending high amounts of money on advertisements and promoting their environmental achievements. (Marciniak Pg. 55) Green advertisements increased in the last 20 years since 2006.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are the enforcers of the issues of Greenwashing and set guidelines on green marketing and carbon offset. An example of ACCC enforcement action is the issue of GM Holden claiming their range of Saab vehicles are “Grrrrrreen” in magazine advertisements and newspapers. GM...

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