The term corporate greenwashing was coined in 1986 by Jay Westerveld. The beach resort he was residing at, encouraged guests to avoid giving towels for laundry every day, for the sake of protecting the coral reefs from detergents. However, the resort was undertaking expansion projects and harming said coral reef. They were just trying to save on laundry bills!
Corporate greenwashing refers to when a business makes impressive claims about its sustainability to distract from its unsustainable practices. This practice has become more prevalent today, due to the growth of climate awareness. Companies try to project a sustainable brand image but don’t exactly follow through on their promises.
Another example is the case of a palm oil company in 2008. They claimed that palm oil plantations provided habitat for native flora and fauna, when in fact the opposite was true.
Often, producers claim that their packaging is made of recycled plastic or that their product is. However, there may not be a supervisory body that is overseeing this. When consumers are misled in this manner, they end up making decisions that aren’t eco-friendly unknowingly. They believe they are doing good, but they aren’t. They might even be causing harm.