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What is Greenwashing?

Write about the Importance of Greenwashing Concept for Academy of Marketing Science.

Information about the environmental friendliness is nowadays all over. Different companies are using the environmental friendliness concept to promote their products. But the main question is how environment friendly is their products? With a lot of information being disseminated each minute, wrong and incorrect information about the level of environmental friendliness has been able to find their way to the market. Greenwashing is a key concept which is able to describe the situation where the companies use deceptive information about the environmental friendliness of their product to market them and therefore portray them as environmental friendly. Additionally, greenwashing is also described as “a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in an environmental context.” The greenwashing is also referred to as green PR and it is a simply a marketing strategy which some companies use. In addition, Delmas & Burbano, (2011, p. 66) defined greenwashing as “the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of organizations (firm level greenwashing) or the environmental benefits of a product or service (product-level greenwashing)”. Being green is regarded as one of the major aspects for the B2B and B2C engagements. This has been able to promote the businesses in the engagement of the use of the greenwashing concept. The society is a major source of environmental harm. The use of non-green products in the social life is increasing and thus making them one of the leading environmental polluters. Compared to the industries, the society disseminates a lot of environmental unfriendly products currently. This making the knowledge of the greenwashing concepts, which many of the companies are using important (TerraChoice, 2009). Different studies have shown that the public are able to rate the greenwashing companies more environmentally friendly than those not engaging in the use of the same concept. Currently, the social sphere is the main source of environmental pollution ranging from key factors such as resource use and conflict, environmental degradation, global warming, pollution as well as species extinction. All these can be related to the kind of information which the social sphere has and it is definitely highly influenced by the greenwashing concept.

Recently, many organization has realized that their overall performance does not depend on profit generation, investment returns and shareholder values. They have understood that having good social and environmental performance is able to lead to the achievement of the later. The environmental compliance need has led to the emergence of the greenwashing factors. This happened due to the lack of information of the same concept in the public sphere (Atkinson, & Kim, 2014). Currently, the public sphere is aware of the concept and this has led to the organizations restructuring themselves to meet the environmental compliance. Most of the organizations are currently focusing of going green due to the high demand of the green factors in the social sphere. The utilization and generation of good relation in the social sphere in relation to the environmental factors is able to lead to the profits, investment returns as well as shareholders’ values. The companies and organizations are therefore focusing not only going green but also going green with proper reputation in the public sphere. This forces the organization to provide the correct information to the public concerning the green factor in their products. Through this, the public is able to enjoy a wide range of environmental protection against harm for the different activities which are carried out (Kahle, & Gurel-Atay, Eda, eds. 2014). This credit can only be attributed to the social sphere being aware of the greenwashing concept. This places the organizations on a level where the only option is to comply with the environmental rules of suffer in terms of the profits, returns on investments and their shareholders value. 

Why Companies Use Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a concept which is highly related to the green performance for the companies. Different organizations are aware of the demand of the green factor by the consumers. With this information, the organizations tend to deceive the public of their green performance in order to attract their interest and generate their profits. Nevertheless, with the social sphere with the knowledge of the greenwashing, things have been able to turn around for such companies (Chen, & Chang, 2013). The society has been able to demand for the correct information on the green factor and thus resisting any deceptive information on products. This has led to financial losses for such companies. With such losses, the companies have been left without any other alternative but to comply with the different levels of green factors which are needed in the market. Environmental protection against harm has been the main result of the social construction to achieve the set objectives. The greenwashing concept and its existence in the social sphere is able to ensure that the companies and organization elevate their environmental performance (Cronin, JSmith, Gleim, Ramirez, & Martinez, 2011). Most importantly, the concept ensures that the organizations are able to provide the correct information concerning their environmental performance to the public. The dare consequences of deceptions to the social sphere are able to ensure that the organizations are truthful in their reporting of the environmental performance.

First and foremost, the concept of the greenwashing helps the society to identify the wrong information about the harm they are able to bring to the environment without their knowledge. It is much unlikely that the companies using this concept will be able to pass the negative side of the products in relation to the environmental unfriendliness. Therefore, the concept of greenwashing is able to create awareness of the public on the effects of the use of such product (Du, 2015). Through this information, the society is able to control the environmental harm which they are bringing to the public. Public perception is able to relate to the kind of information they get. A lot of companies have been able to understand the power of information in marketing their products and therefore they are taking the advantage of the information to deceive the public for the expense of environmental harm. Greenwashing concept helps to make the social sphere that the environmental harm they are causing in the use of certain products which are unfriendly to the environmental (Chen, Lin, & Chang, 2014). It helps them to have other ways to examine the environmental friendliness of different products and thus create a viable conclusion on whether to use them or not. In short, the greenwashing concept is able to create a counter information on the level of environmental friendliness of the products which the public has been given and regarded as environmental friendly.

The Impact of Greenwashing on the Environment and Consumers

The greenwashing companies are able to rely on different interpretation of the information by the society. The major part of the marketing strategies is to make the products good on the public eye. This is one of the key areas which the greenwashing companies rely on in order to market their products (Fernando, Sivakumaran, & Suganthi, 2014). The greenwashing concept is therefore an eye opener to the social sphere on the way they are polluting and harming the environment. The concept helps the social sphere to have an in-depth information about some of the products which are presented as environmentally friendly to them. The information helps in understanding the environmental effects which arise when such products are being used and thus helping them to make viable decisions. TerraChoice are able to show that about 95% of products which are regarded as environmental friendly are subjected to greenwashing. This tells the kind of decision which the social sphere is able to make regarding their usage and harm they bring to the environment (TerraChoice, 2009). The companies know that the public will always make decisions based on the information they have. TerraChoice also identified that the green concept has turned out to be a concept to manipulate the selling and buying of products. It is an advertising slogan which most of the products do not meet the standards of the environmental friendliness portrayed in the advertisement. 


Therefore, the greenwashing concept is relevant in the social sphere to help in making of the viable decision on different products. The concept is able to show the public that they have to go beyond the advertisement information portrayed in order to identify the truth about the environmental friendliness. The concepts are able to create awareness on the different products which are unable to portray the given information (Gershoff, & Frels, 2015). This helps the social sphere to create viable decisions towards the environmental production. In short, the greenwashing concept is able to reveal what the companies are hiding when using the same concept to the public. This makes the greenwashing concept an important concept which must be within the public sphere to help in determining the truth of the information about products. The right decisions will therefore be made when the concept is able to pass the correct and hidden message about the products. With the power of information, the public sphere will therefore be able to make viable decision which will help in environmental protection. Not only informing does the concept do but it helps to provide the right information for the right decision making for the public (Turri, & Turri, 2015). The companies using the concept only rely on the lack of information to the public about their products. With such information, environment harm is likely to reduce based on the ‘correct’ decision which the public will make.

How the Public Can Make Informed Decisions

The consumers are increasing their demand on the green products and the companies are attempting to meet the demand of the green products. The high demand has been one of the major push for the companies to claim to be green when they are not fully and thus leading to the greenwashing concept. The use of the concept does not only harm the environment and the consumers but also the companies using the concepts themselves.  The use of greenwashing is a short-term solution to a long term problem (Lyon, & Montgomery, 2015). In the end, with the greenwashing concept, the public is able to lose the confidence and faith on such companies and thus able to enhance their environmental awareness. Therefore, it can be described that the use of the greenwashing concept is a learning mark towards achieving and reducing the environmental harm. The consumers hate being fooled and the use of the concept helps to enhance their awareness when they get the correct information. The consumers and public sphere in general are increasing their demand for the green products. The use of the green concepts makes them feel betrayed and this is able to increase their environmental awareness. The consumers demand of green products are making them aware of the greenwashing concepts (Newell, Goldsmith, & Banzhaf, 2012). This helps them in realizing the environmental friendliness of the different products in the society. The greenwashing concept is therefore helping the public in maintaining the environmental harm which some of the companies have been able to cause while promoting their products. The greenwashing is therefore a good concept which helps the public and social sphere to avoid some of the key products which use the same concept. The deception is able to increase the environmental awareness and thus at the end promoting the environmental protection against harm.

The greenwashing concepts has turned out to be a tool off activism and consumer interactions. The concept has been able to bring different stakeholders together in help of protecting the environment against harm. Under the concept, the activists and the consumers are able to share their ideas and understanding on the different companies and their engagements on the greenwashing concept. This is able to enhance the passing of the information of the environmental compliance of the different companies (Newell, Goldsmith, & Banzhaf, 2012). The information helps the consumers to understand the environmental compliance of the products they are able to use. In turn the consumers are able to avoid the products which are able to harm the environment and therefore increase their demand for the proper green products. With the activists on board, the consumers are able to get the correct analysis of the different products in relation to the way they are able to comply with environmental rules and regulations (Walker, & Kent, 2013). The greenwashing concepts is able to act as a uniting ground in protecting the environment harm. The information and analysis provided is able to help in informing the different social spheres on compliance issues. Through this, the consumers are able to make decisions on what is green and what is marketed as green and its actually not green. Through this, they are able to make viable decisions on what they can use and what not use considering the environmental harm factor. Thus, the existence of the greenwashing concept is able to help the social sphere to get more information and be united in the fight of protecting the environmental harm. Without the concept, the social sphere will be unable to get such information and this will contribute to more harm to the environment (Barone, Miyazaki, & Taylor, 2000). Thus the existence of the greenwashing concept is able to bring together the social sphere with the aim of fighting the environmental harm of the different products and misleading of the public. 

The Demand for Environmentally-Friendly Products


In addition, the existence of the greenwashing concept and the awareness to the social aspects is able to help the companies to comply with the environmental requirements. Knowing that at long run the greenwashing will affect the companies in a negative way imposes a situation where the companies have to comply and provide the correct information (Spack, Board, Crighton, Kostka, & Ivory, 2012). The social sphere will be likely to resist any products which are marketed as green and they are actually not green. The knowledge of this is able to push the companies to the end and help them in ensuring that they have the correct marketing with the correct information about being green for their different products. A lot of information have been existed where companies have come forward to defend their information about being green. This shows the level at which the companies will need to provide the correct information about their products and being green. The concept is therefore some important aspects which helps to push the companies to go green and provide the correct information about them being green. At the end, the push is able to lead to environmental harm protect (De Jong, Harkink, and Barth, 2017). This is related to the reaction which the social sphere may have on learning of the deception which the companies provide to them. All the credit will more to the greenwashing concept since without the concept, the social sphere may not relate what is green and what is not. Thus the concept together with the social construction and reaction are important in helping the green compliance and thus protecting the environment harm.

The social sphere is able to analyze things which they have information about. Environmental report of the companies’ compliance on the environmental issues have been able to increase over the past decades. This have been able to help the social construction to evaluate the companies which have been engaging on the greenwashing concepts to deceive them. The existence of the information is able to help the public to understand the environmental compliance for the different companies (Newell, Goldsmith, & Banzhaf, 2012). All, this is attributed to the greenwashing aspects and deception which some key companies have engaged in. the media is event driven and they will report what goes against what is expected. Though the greenwashing concept, the media is able to focus on such issues and thus able to educate the public more on the products which do not meet the required standards. The greenwashing is a relevant concept which is able to bring to the limelight the compliance issues for the companies through the media (Hansen, 1991). Through the media, the companies are able to comply with what they are able to claim they represent with their products. The existence of the greenwashing concepts helps the public to have the knowledge and thus helping the companies to counter the information with the correct requirements. The greenwashing concepts is able to unite the social sphere in resisting the products and companies which are misguiding by the use of the greenwashing (Chen, 2010). The social sphere is able to rate different products by different companies through their level of greenwashing. Through the Greenwashing Index, the public and social sphere has the opportunity to access any listed products and analyze their level of compliance with the green factor. This information helps to push the companies to comply with the green factor since the negative consequences may be extreme. Moreover, the existence of such platforms helps to bring the social construction together and provide their view on such products and deception. 


In addition, the greenwashing concept has an important factor of the public image of the company and their environmental compliance of their products. The greenwashing concept is able to classify different companies according to the information they are able to provide on their products. This helps the social construction to be able to analyze and some with viable conclusion on the truth of the information (Baum, 2012). The knowledge of the public image helps to push the companies to comply with environmental compliance. The brand image helps the social sphere to construction a relevant point which ensures environmental protection. The greenwashing has been able to enhance the building of proper brand images for the companies and ensuring that they are able to comply well with environmental protection. In addition, the greenwashing concept being available within the public ensures that the companies are able to provide the correct information about their products compliance with environmental rules (Harper, 2001). At the end, the public and social sphere are able to enjoy and benefit from the protected environment. The companies are concerned with the greenwashing information spilling to the social sphere. This ensures that the public are protected against the environmental harm and deception from the companies. The companies are therefore able to ensure the social construction has the relevant and correct information for the environmental harm protection. This is all due to the presence of the greenwashing concept to the social sphere (Becker-Olsen, Cudmore, & Hill, 2006). Thus this shows the greenwashing concept and its existence in the social sphere is important in enhancing the environmental protection. Correct information is able to be provided by the companies about their products to the consumers in relation to the green compliance.

In addition, the existence of the greenwashing concept has led to the emergence of the different social responsibility (CSR) programs by the different companies in order to enhance their environmental management plans. This is done in the aim to protect their image from bad reputation of the greenwashing (Aguinis, & Glavas, 2012). The companies have designed structures where they move to demonstrate practically on the way their products are able to comply with the green statements provided. At the events, the companies are able to move overboard and provide other key essential CSR activities and programs which help to protect the environment against harm. The companies place all these efforts due to the existence of the greenwashing concept in the social sphere. The society is aware of the green factor and the level which the different products must be able to meet at any given moment. The company’s efforts are therefore of great relevance in helping the public in the environmental protection against harm. The greenwashing concept is therefore seen to be helping the society in ensuring that the companies are responsible for the environment (Alves, 2009). The resisting of the deceptive products ensures that the companies are able to analyze the information they provide to the public concerning their products. The CSR activities are able to promote the environmental preservation and protection against harm. All these credits can only be related with the society being aware of the greenwashing activities. Due to their knowledge of what is expected from the companies’ marketing strategies make the companies go overboard and perform more in protecting the environment.

In conclusion, it is clear that the greenwashing concept has been a major factor in ensuring that environmental compliance and reporting is achieved for the companies. The social construction is able to aid and force the companies in ensuring that the organizations are able to protect the environmental against harm through proper reporting of their green factor. The financial aspect of the organizations is related to the social relationship. This makes the social decision important for the companies to thrive in the market. The social construction demand for the green factor is able to lead to the enhancement of the environmental harm protection by the companies. This leads to the reduction of the use of greenwashing factor by the companies during marketing. Moreover, the existence of the greenwashing concept within the social sphere has led to improvement of the CSR activities by the companies which promote the environmental awareness and protection. Environmental compliance by the companies is another key important aspect which is brought by the existence of the greenwashing concept within the social construction. The companies are forced to comply with the environmental rules and be honest about them to avoid the dare consequences of greenwashing. In short, the existence of the greenwashing concept in the social construction has more importance in enhancing environmental protection.  

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