Greenwashing : What’s this ?

In parallel with public awareness of the environment and sustainable development, today more and more companies are communicating and orienting their marketing actions towards ecological positioning.

This practice is called “greenwashing”. Its goal is to create an advantage by appearing as a “green” company responsible for the environment. In order to praise higher prices, have more customers or privileged partnerships with green organisations.

The tools used in greenwashing are often a new brand, green packaging and advertising material. Press releases on green projects, efforts to reduce energy consumption or pollution.

These methods are often used by large multinationals, in the interest of improving their image. Because it is often those who by their activities pollute the most the environment, who spend the most in communication.

We speak in these cases of greenwashing !

Some examples of greenwashing

The agri-food, computer, home products, energy and automotive sectors are those where the greenwashing is the most common.

The green car, for a 4×4, a green laundry with the presence of palm oil and several fragrant allergenic substances, are some examples.

Just like Starbucks announcing early July 2018, the removal of plastic straws from its stores by 2020. Good news if the company did not throw at the same time each year four billion non-recyclable cups, plastic covered with a film of paper.

Ten years ago, Starbucks announced that 100% of its cups would be reusable or recyclable in 2015. We are still waiting…

How to spot greenwashing cases ?

How to make sure a company is making a long-term transition ? This is the case if the measures affect the core business of the company and that it involves in its approach all its employees at all levels of the value chain.

On the other hand, one should be wary when the efforts made by the company concern only a small segment of its activity.

It is also our responsibility as consumers to be informed. By reading the fine print on the back of the packages, and relaying information and calls from NGOs.

In the UK, DeSmog tracks fossil fuel companies involvement in local communities through funding and sponsorship.


At the moment a lot of consumers are trying to shop more responsibly. Indeed, many of us ban plastics, make efforts to reduce our waste and our impact on the environment.

Companies have understood this well, and the mentions : organic, sustainable development, equitable, have become weapons for marketing agencies.

We all know the big multinationals that pollute, exploit and make huge profits to the detriment of the environment. And by the means of marketing they communicate to try to make us change their minds about them.

This is called greenwashing, because by this method companies wash or whiten their image.

Greenwashing is above all a communication technique. If the public is not fooled, the greenwashing is emptied of its substance.

So it is incumbent on us consumers to inform and circulate information to as many people as possible.

And it’s up to us to make the right choices, as the market is moving towards the wishes of the consumer. If most of us choose the environment, any company that wants to survive will have to do it too.