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Greenwashing

Writer: Irmak Zelal Cengiz


In recent years, the fierce competition environment in marketing has become such a pitch that prompted companies to use such, say to speak, false advertising strategies like greenwashing. By taking into consideration the unethical and environmentally detrimental consequences of greenwashing, we can explain why it is deteriorated and should be obstructed.


Greenwashing, in other words, “green sheen” is not genuinely as green as it seems. It is defined as misinformation published by an organization to create an environmentally responsible image. The single purpose of greenwashing is to take advantage of customers’ selectivity against eco-friendly products. It can be experienced in different versions such as numerical tricks to confuse customers.


The reason why greenwashing is indifferent is firstly it is unethical from different viewpoints. Primarily the companies who greenwash are ridiculing consumers' minds by persuading them to use their conscience. Secondly, this action does not fit marketing ethics because it causes unfair advantage. Furthermore, it directly endangers the environment that people are sensitive about. Finally, that a company is greenwashed is revealed would damage its trustworthiness.


Because of these features of green sheen, FTC (Federal Trade Commission) which functions since it was founded in 1914 in the US whose mission is protecting the public from unfair business practices constituted “Green Guides” to prevent unconsciously occurring greenwashing activities. FTC’s guides involve instruction for marketers to avoid greenwashing and show how to ensure customers believe in their real sustainability practices.


In our era greenwashing is a great problem for climate while the crisis is already a serious point, so the topic has been discussed at a conference gathered by one of the most significant foundations. This year in COP27 (Conference of the Parties), one of the UN's climate change conferences, greenwashing was argued and Antonio Guterres stated their opinion with the words “Zero tolerance for greenwashing.”


Unconscious greenwashing will stop somehow with the help of the FTC but conscious greenwashing will not stop till consumers realize and report it. In conclusion, both consumers and marketers should become more knowledgeable to inhibit green sheen.


References:


2.United Nations. (n.d.). COP27: 'zero tolerance for greenwashing', Guterres says as new report cracks down on empty net-zero pledges | UN news. United Nations. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/11/1130317

3.Staff, the P. N. O., & Staff, D. P. I. P. and C. T. O. (2021, July 16). Green guides. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/topics/truth-advertising/green-guides

4.Hayes, A. (2022, November 12). What is greenwashing? how it works, examples, and Statistics. Investopedia. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/greenwashing.asp

5. Tiffany Gallicano (2011). A critical analysis of greenwashing claims. Public Relations Journal - Vol. 5, No. 3



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