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Greenwashing

  • By: Alastair M. Smith
  • In: Green Business: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Nevin Cohen & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Sustainability, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Greenwashing is a term used to describe businesses, organizations, and individuals who exaggerate or make false claims about the environmental benefits of their products and services. In short, greenwashing is an unjustified claim of environmental virtue. While such accusations are now widespread, qualifying to what degree communications have intentionally distorted environmental harm or benefit can be difficult, especially when judgments are often subject to interpretation. This can include accusations of greenwashing against those who have taken action to improve environmental performance, but are perceived to have not done enough. These difficulties may have delayed legislation on greenwashing issues, although both public and private governance is now emerging.

There are several different forms of greenwashing, including providing false information about environmental attributes, exaggerated claims of sustainability, taking ...

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