So today I want to introduce you to another strategic marketing term called GREENWASHING, which was coined by environmentalist Jay Westervelt in 1986. His essay was about how the hotel industry places little “info cards” in each of the suite’s restroom’s promoting the reuse of towels to “save the environment.” I’m sure you must have seen one the last time you stayed at a hotel. Anyways, Westervelt noted that in most cases, little or no effort toward reducing waste was being made by the hotels, that in fact the objective of this “movement” was to increase profit. “Westervelt thus labeled this and other outwardly environmentally conscientious acts with a greater, underlying purpose of profit increase as greenwashing.”
What is greenwashing? It is a misleading and deceptive claim used to promote the perception that a product, service, company policies or technology are environmentally friendly.
The majority of the companies that take part in this deceptive form of marketing, greenwashing, spend significantly more money on advertising they are “green”, than the environmental cause/practice they claim to be “helping.” For example, I read that some of the big companies that participate in “Earth Hour” spend millions of dollars on advertising they are a “Eco-Friendly” company, but they in fact do not have “Eco-Friendly” practices/policies.
Greenwashing also includes changing the name, logo, or label of a product to appear “more natural” even though the product contains harmful chemicals. Yes, it’s totally legal and SHOULDN’T BE, the regulations are next to none for greenwashing.
You should care about greenwashing because it’s harmful to you and the environment! Companies shouldn’t be allowed to mislead us into believing their products are “natural” or “Eco-Friendly” if they really aren’t, SHAME ON THEM! Nothing is going to change unless we voice our opinions and demand they stop greenwashing!
If you spot a product that has been greenwashed you can report it!
Canada: Competition Bureau
I would love to hear if you had you heard of the term greenwashing before reading this post? Have you spotted any greenwashing??