greenwashing

play
noun green·wash·ing \ˈgrēn-ˌwȯ-shiŋ, -ˌwä-\
Updated on: 26 Jul 2017

Definition of greenwashing

  1. :  expressions of environmentalist concerns especially as a cover for products, policies, or activities

Recent Examples of greenwashing from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'greenwashing'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of greenwashing

1green (environmentalist) + brainwashing


Financial Definition of GREENWASHING

greenwashing

What It Is

Greenwashing is the act of misleading customers and potential customers into believing that a product or service is environmentally friendly.

How It Works

Let's say Company XYZ produces a new line of plastic food containers. It labels the containers "tree friendly" because they are not made from wood or forest products. This creates the perception that the company is not harming nature to make the food containers, when in fact it is using petroleum products that many argue are more harmful to the environment. Company XYZ is attempting to greenwash its products.

Why It Matters

Greenwashing is deceptive advertising often intended to increase sales rather than inform customers. Additionally, greenwashing often covers up activities that are in fact harmful to the environment. There are many ways to greenwash, and it is up to consumers to think carefully about a company's claims.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up greenwashing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!