The term greenwash has been around since the early nineties, emerging from the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In 1999, blend of the adjective green, in its sense of protecting the environment, and the verb whitewash, meaning to try to stop people from discovering the true facts about something. Greenwashing is what corporations do when they try to make themselves look more environmentally friendly than they really are. (Bruno, 1992)
Green wash is the term used to describe the action of a company government, or any other organization which advertises positive environmental practices by acting in a desired positive way. This term gained popularity in the 1990s. The term is used in a campaign towards a positive environmental practices most of the environmentalists often use green washing to describe big energy companies which are known over many years to be big pollutants. Arguably, the greenwashers get away with it more often than not.
But their deceptions do not go entirely unnoticed. ’ use of the term greenwash was confined to the context of advertising with an environmentally-friendly focus, the development of brands and images designed to convince people of the eco-friendliness of particular products. Greenwashing is the act of trying to pass off unsustainable products as eco-friendly through branding, packaging or mislabeling. I love to see companies make an effort to go green, and so I inherently want to trust companies when they say their products are sustainable.
Several organizations have been developed to give incentives such as awards to corporation that put more efforts towards promoting eco-friendly environment. (Stauber & Rampton, 1995) Many corporations have spearheaded these campaigns due to such initiatives from organizations such as Corpwatch which gives out bimonthly Green wash awards to different corporations. Some energy companies have donated cars and plants of the trees towards the campaign of the weed to have a friendly environment. This is one way of the comp any advertisement itself as leaching in the campaign for a clean environment.
In the contemporary movements on environmental friendly habitat, the issues of nuclear power have been a major conflict among the nations of the world. The atomic power has been known to cause environmental degradation especially in the production of the negative of global warming. The environmental friendly organizations have spent a lot of money in the recent past towards the campaigns against nuclear pollution which have been the increase in the recent past. In 1980s the environmental movement gained more strength.
In response the green wash advertisements become more popular and more sophisticated peaking in 1990 on the 20th anniversary of earth Day. It was during this type that the corporate environmentalism increased in number. By this type about seventy per cent of the American had been affected by the corporate environmental awareness. The people even preferred the green products as a result of many companies advertising themselves as green. The products that came into the united state market were advertised as being green biodegradable recyclable, ozone friendly or decomposable.
In response to this the world’s greatest polluters spent millions of money to put shiny green layers on their products, a assign of supporting environment. In January 2006 Bloomberg reported that they had joined hands in the environmental conservation by making more friendly cars. The manufacturer of biodegradable, plastics was advocated. Most companies have taken advantage of the green wash to advertise their products. This is a marketing tool aimed at increasing their sales.
The term for many years has been used too refer to the misleading instances of environmental advertising most companies are actually hypostatic about the whole process of environmental friendly. (Elya, 2001) Lately, the term has been used more widely in political contexts, in reference to policies which appear to promote the well-being of the environment but in fact disguise deeper and more widespread issues of environmental decay. This over the case greenwashing is used to give consumers and policy makers the impression that the company is taking the necessary steps to manage the environment.
Green washing is misleading as most companies give wrong information. There is an illusion created about environmental sustainability. The consumers are deceived to support companies that promote environmental degradation by buying their products which affects the quality of living for future generations (Davis (1992) Growth of the demand of environmentally friendly goods has made the manufacturers to take advantage of this by producing environmental friendly products so as to increase their sale. Most of the customers have been enlightened on the importance of keeping our environment more sustainable.
The whole process has promoted improved environmental performance on the other hand there has been increase in the greenwashing in the current world because of market competition. Many companies make the company seem attractive for potential investors, especially those interested in ethical investment or socially responsive investment. The Summit’s failed to confront corporate power in any meaningful way. Governments in Rio allowed big business to avoid a binding legal framework on their activities, opting instead for a voluntary approach to sustainable development.
Globalization of greenwash has caused many adverse effects to the environment. Most companies in the market compete for high market and as such they even use misleading green marketing strategies. Terra Choice environmental marketing Inc. conducted a survey of six categories leading big box stores. In this survey it was identified that out of 1753 environmental friendly claims 1,018 products were found to give misleading information thus misleading the consumers. As a result the following sins were committed. (Lamb, 2001)