An Integrated Framework to Assess Greenwashing

Noémi Nemes, Stephen J. Scanlan, Pete Smith, Tone Smith, Melissa Aronczyk, Stephanie Hill, Simon L. Lewis, A. Wren Montgomery, Francesco N. Tubiello, Doreen Stabinsky* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this paper we examine definitions of ‘greenwashing’ and its different forms, developing a tool for assessing diverse ‘green’ claims made by various actors. Research shows that significant deception and misleading claims exist both in the regulated commercial sphere, as well as in the unregulated non commercial sphere (e.g., governments, NGO partnerships, international pledges, etc). Recently, serious concerns have been raised over rampant greenwashing, in particular with regards to to rapidly emerging net zero commitments. The proposed framework we developed is the first actionable tool for analysing the
quality and truthfulness of such claims. The framework has widespread and unique potential for highlighting efforts that seek to delay or distract real solutions that are urgently needed today to tackle multiple climate and environmental crises. In addition, we note how the framework may also assist in the development of practices and communication strategies that ultimately avoid greenwashing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4431
Number of pages13
JournalSustainability
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research was funded by the Department of Political Science at University of Vienna, Austria and the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, USA, in association with Climate Social Science Network.

Keywords

  • Green claims
  • greenwashing
  • greenwashing framework
  • misleading/deceptive environmental communication
  • net zero
  • public relations
  • selective disclosure
  • sustainability
  • transparency

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