Greenwashing is a term that has become more popular in recent years as companies try to inflate their environmental activism. It has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between truly environmentally conscious companies and those that are simply trying to green their image. In this blog, the aim is to expose the reality of greenwashing and give advice on how to avoid environmental manipulation.


Introduction to Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a form of marketing used to make a company appear more environmentally friendly than it actually is. It can come in the form of frequent advertising, exaggerated claims or false promises. It is a deceptive practice that can trick consumers into believing that a product or service is more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

The term greenwashing was first coined in 1986. year. Jay Westerveld, ecologist and professor of environmental studies at the State University of New York. He used the term to describe the practice of hotels providing guests with towels and linens that were labeled as “eco-friendly” , when in fact they were made of conventional fabrics that were bleached and dyed with strong chemicals.

Greenwashing is becoming more common in the corporate world. Companies are increasingly looking for ways to make their operations more sustainable, and greenwashing is one way to do that. Companies can use greenwashing to make their products and services more attractive to potential customers and investors, as well as to improve their public image.


Companies practicing Greenwashing

Greenwashing is present in all industries, from food and drink to fashion and beauty. Some companies have gone so far with false claims that they have been banned. That’s 2019. In 2008, the advertising regulator banned an ad from an airline company Ryanair who claimed to be the lowest emitting airline in Europe without enough evidence to support that claim.

Hyundai claimed in their ad that their car “cleans the air” , which was also banned in the UK due to its deception.

The phrases “eco” , “sustainable” or “green” are commonly used by companies to make their operations seem environmentally conscious, but they rarely refer to any scientific standards.

Starbucks introduced lids and removed the use of straws to avoid unnecessary use of plastic, but these new lids actually used more plastic than before.

Often, commodity companies promote themselves as environmentally friendly – “made from organic materials” , without sharing certificates or other evidence to support this.

The visual identity of certain products contains ecological motifs, they incorporate small images that look like official logos of ecological certificates, but are actually meaningless. They serve just to attract customers more easily .

Greenwashing can damage a company’s reputation in the long run, and consumers can become suspicious of a company’s environmental claims and less likely to buy its products and services.

How to avoid the manipulation of greenwashing?

A few basic and simple tips for recognizing manipulation:

  • Research companies: Before buying, take the time to research the company and its environmental activities. Look for independent certifications that confirm a company’s commitment to sustainability, such as ISO 14001 or Forest Stewardship Council .
  • Read labels: Take the time to read product labels and packaging carefully. Look for clear and accurate information about the environmental characteristics of the product, such as the source of the material, where it was made and how it was produced.
  • Ask questions: If you are unsure about a company’s environmental activities, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Contact the company directly or use social media to ask questions about their environmental practices.

Be skeptical : Be wary of companies that make exaggerated claims about their environmental credentials or that use false language in their marketing materials.

However, it should be emphasized that there are many brands on the market whose products are fully compliant with ecological rules, which can easily be confirmed with valid evidence. That’s why the onus is on consumers to investigate deeper “eco-products” , and if they are fake, it is important to stop buying and supporting them .


You can find out all the current news and examples of business practice from the field of sustainable development on the topics of green technology, digitization in agriculture, urban mobility, smart city, and others on January 26 at the Designing A Green Future conference. Participation is free, and you can register via the Entrio platform.