Greenwashing - the projection of a green image despite unsustainable business practices - pervades our consumption-oriented society and is a threat to sincere business initiatives for greater sustainability. While commitments to sustainability are everywhere, many of them are not more than unstubstantiated facades that cover up highly problematic business practices which harm social and ecological conditions. Greenwashing is problematic because it contributes to the erosion of consumer trust in business sustainability initiatives.
The question that ethical consumers repeatedly ask themselves is: Can we trust green commitments and images of companies that claim to be sustainable? How can we identify greenwashing and distinguish it from real efforts to become sustainable?
Students of Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility, a course in the MSc programme in Business Administration at VU Amsterdam, have engaged with this problem and created concise video documentaries about particularly problematic instances of greenwashing. The best three videos are featured in this blog.
Greenwashing in the oil & gas industry: Adriana Sellier, Mark Coebergh, Sieuwe Sleeswijk Visser & Franziska Linn
Greenwashing in the coffee industry: Joep van Daalen, Vivien Lommerse, Cheryl Looijer & Nathalie Verkerk
Greenwashing in the airline industry: Jonathan Gemin, Antonia Vladiguerov, Julia Nieto & Nicolas Spits