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Greenwashing and Businesses

Explain greenwashing and why businesses would participate in greenwashing.

Giving false information or spreading false impressions about how environmentally friendly a company’s products are is known as “greenwashing.” It is regarded as an unsupported claim intended to lead customers to believe that a particular company’s products are always environmentally friendly. For instance, businesses that engage in greenwashing may assert that the products they sell have energy-saving features (Solomon, 2017). Even though some of these claims are accurate, businesses that engage in greenwashing typically exaggerate the advantages to mislead customers. Additionally, businesses engage in greenwashing to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly goods, foster positive relationships with the general public, and enhance their brand image. This paper thus discusses greenwashing and the motivations behind corporate participation.

Because they believe that being seen by customers as ethical increases profitability, many businesses engage in greenwashing. People worldwide realize the importance of considering the environment when making daily decisions and purchases. Customers are more likely to make purchases today from businesses that are thought to offer environmentally friendly products (Solomon, 2017). Customers frequently consider businesses that are more sustainable to be ethical. As a result, they frequently choose to patronize companies they believe to be sustainable in their business practices. As a result, many companies are working hard to improve the sustainability of their operations to win over customers.

As a result, they resort to greenwashing to continue to appear ethical to customers. Additionally, many companies engage in “greenwashing” to win the public. People are punishing businesses that don’t appear to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their operations as society becomes more environmentally conscious. As a result, these public preferences for more environmentally friendly services and goods are compelling businesses worldwide to adopt environmentally friendly practices (Solomon, 2017). However, this demand for going green is leading to an increase in the number of businesses claiming to be going green, even though they rarely adopt these practices. Significantly, the public is more drawn to a business that makes environmental claims than to one that rarely cares about the environment or uses harmful practices.

Businesses are increasingly engaging in greenwashing activities due in large part to their poor understanding of what they are actually doing. Notably, many businesses lack the knowledge necessary to help them distinguish between practices that are truly beneficial to the environment from those that are not. For instance, a business in Australia began using biodegradable plastic to be more sustainable, but the plastic only partially broke down before breaking into smaller pieces (Solomon, 2017). The business only needed compostable bags but lacked the knowledge to identify the best eco-friendly materials.

In conclusion, greenwashing occurs when a business or organization spends more time and money on marketing to convince clients that it is sustainable when it is not. Many businesses engage in this activity to boost consumer demand, foster goodwill among the general public and improve brand recognition. In addition, many businesses now claim to be eco-friendly in their operations even though they are not because of the shift in consumer demands toward wanting more environmentally friendly products. Therefore, businesses should refrain from greenwashing because doing so could damage their reputation once the truth comes out.


Solomon, R. (2017). Purchasing, possessing, and being: Consumer Behavior. ISBN 13: 978-0-134-12993-8, Pearson.


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