Greenwashing: A proposal to restrict its spread

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    Recent years have seen a rapid rise in the number of firms publicly touting the environmental merits of their products or their operational practices. This is driven by the changing societal concern and public discourse around environmental issues. What was once an infrequent conversation has emerged as a moral obligation. While the number of "green" products available in the market has grown, these conditions have also resulted in firms deliberately misleading consumers about their environmental performance or the environmental benefits of their products, a condition commonly known as "greenwashing." This paper will argue that the urgency to address our rapidly deteriorating environment requires that tangible steps be taken to control incidents of greenwashing. It examines the merits and drawbacks associated with government's taking an active role in the regulation of greenwashing and argues that the current regulatory instruments being used by governments to address greenwashing are not likely to be successful in addressing the problem. Finally, the paper proposes a new regulatory instrument where governments and interested stakeholders work together to collect and disseminate information on sustainable business practices and the impact of goods and service production on the environment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1450030
    JournalJournal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec. 2014


    • environmental benefits
    • green products
    • greenwashing
    • Sustainability


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