What is Greenwashing and Does Your Business Do It?

hand putting a band aid on smoke stack. Greenwashing malpractice concept

Greenwashing is a new term – arising because sustainability is the buzzword of the moment.  Whilst some companies do care about sustainability, most companies are motivated by profit. Even those who make an effort to be environmentally responsible may not be doing all they can to reduce their carbon footprint because it might cut into profits.  However, in a market where consumers care about the environment, some companies adopt ‘green sounding’ language and images without any real action and others make a lot of misleading claims about sustainability when their companies that aren’t actually committed to being sustainable or reducing their impact on climate change. This is called “greenwashing.” Greenwashing occurs when a company makes false or misleading claims or creates a false image about its environmental practices or products in order to win over consumers who care about those issues.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is the act of deceiving consumers into believing that a company’s products or services are environmentally friendly. Companies may use greenwashing to improve their public image, increase sales and attract new customers.

Greenwashing can be seen in many different areas of business including advertising, marketing materials and websites. Greenwash can also come from a company’s policies or actions outside of marketing materials such as manufacturing facilities and supply chains.

How to avoid Greenwashing

To actually be having an impact and make genuine claims about helping the environment, businesses should:

  • Research ways your business can actively adopt green habits.
  • Make your business more environmentally friendly.

Ways to be proactive in the fight against climate change.

As a business, you have the opportunity to be a part of the solution. The best way to do this is by adopting policies that minimize your carbon footprint and recycling waste whenever possible. At home, make sure you’re using energy-efficient appliances, unplugging electronics when not in use and turning off lights when leaving rooms (or even better: install motion sensor lighting).

In addition to these actions being good for the environment and helping us save money on our electric bills, they also send an important message about what type of company we are–one that cares about climate change issues!

Define a plan to reduce your carbon footprint.

You can’t solve a problem until you know what it is, so before you set out to reduce your carbon footprint, define the problem. For example:

  • Are there areas where I could be more efficient?
  • How much do I spend on energy each month?
  • What’s the greenhouse gas emission from my business and how does this compare with other companies in my industry? If we could reduce our emissions by 5%, would that make a difference for climate change as well as helping us to meet targets for energy efficiency and sustainability in our business operations.

Stop greenwashing.

Greenwashing is a term used to describe the act of misleading consumers into believing that a product or service is more environmentally friendly than it actually is. It’s important to note that greenwashing isn’t just limited to products; businesses can also engage in this practice by making misleading claims about their environmental record or practices.

It’s important for you, as an entrepreneur and business owner, not only because it will help your company avoid getting caught up in any potential lawsuits or bad press but also because consumers have become increasingly aware of greenwashing tactics over the past few years–and they’re less likely than ever before to fall victim! If you want your business’ reputation on par with its mission statement (which we hope it already is), then take these steps today:

Companies need to back up their ‘green’ claims by actually being green.

To be truly sustainable, a company needs to back up its claims by actually being green. It’s not enough to just say that you’re doing something–you need to show that you are doing it in a way that is transparent and honest. If a company claims they are reducing their carbon footprint but isn’t transparent about how they’re doing it, then there’s no way for consumers or investors (or even employees) to know whether the claim is true or not.

The same goes for other sustainability initiatives like recycling programs: if you want people to believe what you’re saying about being environmentally friendly, then make sure your actions match up with those words!


Greenwashing is a dangerous trend that is plaguing the environmental movement. It’s important to call out companies who are using buzzwords like ‘organic’ or ‘eco-friendly’ without actually living up to those claims. If you suspect that your company might be greenwashing, it’s time to take action and stop this behavior before it becomes too widespread.