What is Greenwashing?


The purpose of greenwashing is to mislead consumers who are interested in making eco-friendly choices. Greenwashing undermines the efforts of genuinely sustainable businesses by creating consumer doubt about the legitimacy and practicality of moving to a sustainable lifestyle.

Greenwashing can take various forms, such as:

Vague, Unsubstantiated, or Just Plain False Claims: Companies may use ambiguous terms like “eco-friendly” or “green” without providing specific details or supporting evidence to back up their claims. These claims may lack transparency and make it difficult for consumers to assess the true environmental impact of the product. This lawsuit brief gives and eye-opening look into one such greenwashing case.

Cherry-Picking Positive Information: Companies may focus on a single environmental initiative or feature of their product while downplaying other aspects that are not as sustainable or not sustainable at all. An example is sneakers made with recycled ocean plastic, which is very difficult and expansive to recycle. Only a small percentage of the sneaker can contain recycled ocean plastic without it driving up the cost to the point where it becomes too expensive to buy. Focusing on the messaging (recycled ocean plastic) without going into the details creates a distorted picture of the eco-friendly reality of a company or product.

Lack of Proof or Evidence: Greenwashing often involves claims that are not supported by credible evidence or third-party verification. Companies may make grand statements about their sustainability efforts without providing data or transparent information to substantiate those claims.

Greenwashing also adds friction to adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle by requiring consumers to research sustainability claims before supporting a brand.

Here at Blue Oceans Green Earth we verify the claims of the companies that appear on the site.