What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing describes a practice in which companies present their products, services or overall corporate image as more environmentally friendly than they actually are. This misleading marketing strategy aims to exploit consumers' environmental awareness in order to improve the company's image without actually working to protect the environment.

Green claims are misleading

Companies that use greenwashing often use vague, unverifiable or misleading claims to advertise their products as "environmentally friendly" or "climate neutral". These green promises are usually not backed up by concrete measures or significant environmental benefits.

Examples of greenwashing

From packaging to advertising - examples of greenwashing can be found in many industries. A classic example is the advertising of products with the claim "biodegradable" without this property being true under normal conditions, or the highlighting of a single green initiative to distract from other environmentally harmful practices.

Why greenwashing is a problem

Greenwashing undermines consumer trust and can damage a company's reputation in the long term. Consumers and investors are becoming increasingly critical of greenwashing practices and prefer authentically sustainable companies.

Legal consequences and business risks

With the introduction of the Green Claims Directive in the EU and similar regulations worldwide, companies accused of being misleading are facing legal consequences. These regulations aim to promote transparency and truthfulness in environmental claims and to curb greenwashing. In addition, greenwashing carries significant risks such as reputational damage, declining consumer confidence and potential penalties, which can jeopardize a company's credibility and financial well-being.

Combating greenwashing

Companies should focus on genuine sustainability initiatives and communicate their environmental performance transparently. Avoiding greenwashing starts with an honest assessment of your own practices and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Compliance with standards and regulations

Orientation towards recognized standards and compliance with new laws such as the Green Claims Directive are essential not only to avoid greenwashing, but also to be recognized as a responsible company.

Greenwashing is a serious issue that affects the credibility of companies and undermines consumer confidence in environmentally friendly products and services. Companies are required to make authentic sustainability efforts and report transparently on their environmental performance in order to be successful and credible in the long term. Tackling greenwashing is not only a legal necessity, but also a crucial step towards a more sustainable economy and society.