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Deceptive advertising; Environmental disinformation; False advertising


Greenwashing refers to the practice of falsely promoting an organization’s environmental efforts or spending more resources to promote the organization as green than are spent to actually engage in environmentally sound practices. Thus greenwashing is the dissemination of false or deceptive information regarding an organization’s environmental strategies, goals, motivations, and actions.

The term “greenwashing” was originally coined by prominent environmentalist Jay Westerveld in a 1986 essay in which he claimed the hotel industry falsely promoted the reuse of towels as part of a broader environmental strategy; when, in fact, the act was designed as a cost-saving measure (Orange and Cohen 2010). Thus, the term is now used to refer to any organization that seems to adopt new environmental practices that are, in fact, cost savings, or more simply put, it is the practice of making an organization...

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Correspondence to Karen Becker-Olsen .

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© 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Becker-Olsen, K., Potucek, S. (2013). Greenwashing. In: Idowu, S.O., Capaldi, N., Zu, L., Gupta, A.D. (eds) Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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