Greenwashing

What Does Greenwashing Mean?

Greenwashing refers to a marketing makeover in which a product is presented as more environment friendly when no substantial effort has been taken to make it so. In a more extreme sense greenwashing may refer to an attempt to make a product that is environmentally damaging appear to be environmentally friendly. Greenwashing plays upon a renewed consumer interest in protecting the environment.

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Techopedia Explains Greenwashing

There are two degrees of greenwashing. In the weak form, it merely involves a company claiming credit for existing production methods as if they were influenced by an eco-friendly mandate. For example, a software company may eliminate shrink wrap on packaging to save costs and then spin the move as a green initiative. In the more extreme form, a company will outright lie about the eco-friendliness of a product by using vague phrasing (“best in class ecology”), suggesting packaging (green fields, flowers, etc.), questionable endorsements (“green certified by ecomaniacs”) and so on.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.