GreenWashing PowerPoint

Environmental Sociology
The Seven Sins of
Greenwashing Products
by: Bailey Schultz
What is Greenwashing?
Its is the act of misleading
consumers regarding the
environmental practices
of a company or the
environmental benefits of
a product
What is wrong with
What’s wrong with greenwashing?
well intended consumers can be
misled into purchases that do not deliver
on that environmental promise
competitive pressure from illegitimate
claims can take market share away from
legitimate products
can lead to cynicism and doubt about
all environmental claims
Hidden Trade-Offs
Suggesting a product is ‘green’ based
on: narrow set of attributes without
attention to other environmental
Emphasis on highly visible actions
while other more environmental
degrading activities take place out of
Sustainably harvested does not mean
Sustainably produced
Lack Of Proof
Suggesting a product is ‘green’ based on: An environmental
claim that cannot be substantiated by easily accessible
Lack of reliable third-party certification
Post-Consumer Waste Recycled?
Says who?
65% recycled
Vague Claims
A claim that is poorly defined or so broad that its real meaning is likely to be
Natural is the biggest culprit
Arsenic, uranium, mercury, and formaldehyde are all natural- but poisonous
Irrelevant Claims
Using Claims such as CFC-FREE which has no
relevance to a product because CFC’s were banned
in 1987
Lesser of Two Evils
Claims that may be true within a product category, but intentionally distract the
consumer from the broader environmental impacts of the category as a whole
ex: 2013 Cadillac Escalante Hybrid? 23 as opposed to 20
Outright Lies
The least frequent form of greenwashing, by
making environmental claims that are outright
LG caught cheating to achieve Energy Star
Test equipment installed with hidden devices
to aid in power-efficiency testing
The Feather-Duster Fly-Strip Air Freshner
False Labeling
An effort to exploit modern consumers’ demand for
third party certification with fake labels or claims of
third-party endorsement
Stay Informed