Sunday, December 11, 2011


I ran across the word "Greenwashing" in an article a couple of weeks ago - - The Drivers of Greenwashing by Magali Delmas and Vanessa Cuerel Burbano in the Fall 2011 issue of California Management Review.  The authors define "Greenwashing" as - -

" . . . the act  of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company (firm-level greenwashing) or the environmental benefits of a product or service (product-level greenwashing)."

The authors note - -

"The consumer and capital markets for green products, services, and firms have been expanding rapidly in the last decade.  The consumer market for green products and services was estimated at $230 billion in 2009 and predicted to grow to $845 billion by 2015.  At the start of 2010, professionally managed assets utilizing socially responsible investing strategies, of which environmental performance is a major component, were valued at $3.07 trillion in the U.S., an increase of more than 380 percent form $639 billion in 1995.  More companies are now communicating about the greenness of their products and practices in order to reap the benefits of these expanding green markets.  Green advertising has increased almost tenfold in the last 20 years and nearly tripled since 2006.  As of 2009, more than 75 percent of S&P 500 companies had website sections dedicated to disclosing their environmental and social policies and performance.  At the same time, more and more firms are engaging in greenwashing, misleading consumers about firm environmental performance or the environmental benefits of a product of service.  Over 95 percent of products surveyed by TerraChoice in 2008/2009 committed at least one of the TerraChoice Seven Sins of Greenwashing."

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