An Integrated Framework to Assess Greenwashing
2. Materials and Methods
3.1. Greenwashing: Definition and Varieties
3.2. Integrating Greenwashing Frameworks
4. Discussion: How to Use the Framework
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Collection of Greenwashing Definitions
|“The act of disseminating disinformation to consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service” , p. 424.|
|“Greenwashing refers to the practice of falsely promoting an organisation’s environmental efforts or spending more resources to promote the organisation as green than are spent to actually engage in environmentally sound practices. Thus, greenwashing is the dissemination of false or deceptive information regarding an organisation’s environmental strategies, goals, motivations, and actions” .|
|“Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image” .|
|“Greenwashing is when a company or organisation spends more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimizing their environmental impact. It is a deceitful advertising gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands” .|
|“(1) The phenomenon of socially and environmentally destructive corporations attempting to preserve and expand their markets by posing as friends of the environment and leaders in the struggle to eradicate poverty. (2) Environmental whitewash. (3) Any attempt to brainwash consumers or policy makers into believing polluting mega-corporations are the key to environmentally sound sustainable development (4) Hogwash .|
|“greenwashing is taken to mean two main things. It can be when companies—usually mega corporations and sometimes politicians—try to hide or cover up their less-than-stellar environmental records with a grand, public gesture towards green causes the other type of greenwashing is where companies and brands use words like ‘green’, ‘sustainable’, ‘eco-friendly’, or ‘vegan’ simply as a marketing ploy, without any deep interrogation over what those terms actually mean. And crucially-without any accountability for their actions” .|
|The authors note two different major classifications of greenwashing, including “product/service level claim greenwashing, which uses textual arguments that explicitly or implicitly refer to the ecological benefits of a product or service to create a misleading environmental claim” [13:7] while “executional greenwashing suggests nature-evoking elements such as images using colors (e.g., green, blue) or sounds (e.g., sea, birds). Backgrounds representing natural landscapes (e.g., mountains, forests, oceans), or pictures of endangered animal species (e.g., pandas dolphins) or renewable sources of energy (e.g., wind, waterfalls) are examples of executional nature-evoking elements” , p. 10.|
|“the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of organisations (firm-level greenwashing) or the environmental benefits of a product or service (product-level greenwashing)” , p. 66.|
|“Greenwashing is the process by which organisations spread misleading perceptions about their products or services that suggest they are more environmentally responsible than is the reality. The practice of greenwashing is used regularly by corporations, governments, and other entities to deceive the public into believing that they are doing more for the environment than they truly are in order to gain better public perception” .|
|“Greenwashing is used to describe the practice of companies launching adverts, campaigns, products etc. under the pretence that they are environmentally beneficial, often in contradiction to their environmental and sustainability record in general” .|
|“The expressions ‘environmental claims’ and ‘green claims’ refer to the practice of suggesting or otherwise creating the impression (in a commercial communication, marketing or advertising) that a good or a service has a positive or no impact on the environment or is less damaging to the environment than competing goods or services. This may be due to its composition, how it has been manufactured or produced, how it can be disposed of and the reduction in energy or pollution expected from its use. When such claims are not true or cannot be verified, this practice is often called ‘greenwashing’. ‘Greenwashing’ can relate to all forms of business- to-consumer commercial practices concerning the environmental attributes of goods or services. According to the circumstances, this can include all types of statements, information, symbols, logos, graphics and brand names, and their interplay with colours, on packaging, labelling, advertising, in all media (including websites) and made by any organisation, if it qualifies as a “trader” and engages in commercial practices towards consumers” , p. 95.|
|“Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly” .|
|“greenwash can be characterized as the selective disclosure of positive information about a company’s environmental or social performance, while withholding negative information on these dimensions” , p. 5.|
|“the word greenwash is used to cover any communication that misleads people into adopting overly positive beliefs about an organisation’s environmental performance, practices, or products the important phenomenon of misleading environmental communication” , p. 226.|
|“Greenwashing is the practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs to deflect attention from an organisation’s environmentally unfriendly or less savory activities” , p. 19.|
|Focus on “executional greenwashing whereby nature-evoking elements in the ad execution may induce false perceptions of a brand’s greenness, whether intentionally or not on the part of the advertiser” , p. 108.|
|“Greenwashing is the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government, a politician or even a non-government organisation to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public and decision makers after being embroiled in controversy” .|
|“The act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service” .|
|“Communication that misleads people (e.g., consumers and stakeholders) regarding environmental performance/benefits by disclosing negative information and disseminating positive information about an organisation, service, or product” , pp. 372–373.|
|“Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service” .|
|“The practice of advertising a product or process as “green” or environmentally friendly, when the product really is not, or does not achieve the advertised marketing claims. A false or misleading picture of environmental friendliness used to conceal or obscure damaging activities” .|
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|Claim||Evidence that organisations use to prove their point. Claims can take the form of verbal or written statements, pictures, reports, ads, but also collective aspirations by stakeholder groups; pledges; codes of conduct that define specific production or sourcing practices; and sectoral standards including principles, criteria and forms of verification agreed on by several stakeholders within a sector.|
|Greenwashing||An umbrella term for a variety of misleading communications and practices that intentionally or not, induce false positive perceptions of an organisation’s environmental performance.|
|Organisation||An entity–such as a company, a consultancy, bank or an association (e.g., NGO)–comprising one or more people and having a particular purpose. For the purposes of the framework, governments and sub-national actors are also treated as organisations.|
|Transparency||A form of public exposure used to display communicative power. Assessments of transparency go beyond mere availability of information . They must consider the means of transparency (e.g., self-disclosure versus legal requirement), the context of transparency (e.g., Through whose labour is the transparency achieved? Who controls the timing, scope, and particularities of information distribution?) and the beneficiaries of transparency (e.g., self-branding exercise or civic obligation)? |
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Nemes, N.; Scanlan, S.J.; Smith, P.; Smith, T.; Aronczyk, M.; Hill, S.; Lewis, S.L.; Montgomery, A.W.; Tubiello, F.N.; Stabinsky, D. An Integrated Framework to Assess Greenwashing. Sustainability 2022, 14, 4431. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084431
Nemes N, Scanlan SJ, Smith P, Smith T, Aronczyk M, Hill S, Lewis SL, Montgomery AW, Tubiello FN, Stabinsky D. An Integrated Framework to Assess Greenwashing. Sustainability. 2022; 14(8):4431. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084431Chicago/Turabian Style
Nemes, Noémi, Stephen J. Scanlan, Pete Smith, Tone Smith, Melissa Aronczyk, Stephanie Hill, Simon L. Lewis, A. Wren Montgomery, Francesco N. Tubiello, and Doreen Stabinsky. 2022. "An Integrated Framework to Assess Greenwashing" Sustainability 14, no. 8: 4431. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084431