I previously wrote about “Cause Marketing” and Pinkwashing and received a lot of great feedback! I wasn’t surprised that there were quite a few people who didn’t know what pinkwashing was. But, more suprising was how people didn’t know corporations use cause marketing to manipulate and confuse consumers. So today I want to introduce you to another strategic marketing term called greenwashing.
Greenwashing is a term 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?
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, 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” eventhough 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! Consumers shouldn’t be misled by companies. SHAME ON THEM! Nothing is going to change unless we voice our opinions and demand they stop greenwashing!
I would love to hear if you had you heard of the term greenwashing before reading this post? Have you spotted any greenwashing??