Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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The risks of 'greenwashing' in a recession

Saturday 15 August 2009

Greenwashing is a term used to define marketing actions by organisations, claiming to take an environmental approach to their products or services, when in fact, they are doing nothing or very little. Greenwashing is a form of marketing hype, and in turbulent times, many companies may be contemplating 'sexing up' their image by tapping into the positive consumer sentiment of a environmentally friendly approach. But being caught 'greenwashing' is a huge reputational risk.

In a poll by 'Treehugger' over two thirds of all respondents doubted that a company's environmental claims are not to be trusted.  In their survey 'Can we trust corporations when they use terms like sustainable and green' (here) the overwhelming response is 'no'.  This bodes poorly for those who are found out greenwashing their company's environmental efforts.

Taking this thinking a step further, this great little cartoon highlights the blanket approach used by companies in greening-up their marketing - well worth a look and well worth taking it more seriously than you might for behind the humour is a massive risk for greenwashing companies. 


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