Hot Topic Series! Cleaning Up Environmental Marketing – Practical Steps to Avoid Greenwashing

Brian Dunkiel, Dunkiel Saunders Elliott Raubvogel & Hand
June 12, 12:00-1:00 Oakes 007

“How do the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, other government regulations, consumer fraud class actions, and voluntary marketing claim dispute resolution programs influence environmental marketing claims and what should companies know in order to enhance consumer trust and brand value?”

If you do not know the definition of “greenwashing”, you are not alone. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines greenwashing as: “The dissemination of misleading information that conceals abuse of the environment in order to present a positive public image.” Merriam Webster Dictionary defines greenwashing as “expressions of environmentalist concerns especially as a cover for products, policies, or activities.”

As a neologism, it is not surprising that the term greenwashing does not yet have a completely settled definition. The earliest usage of “greenwashing” in LexisNexis is the July 21, 1999 issue of the (London) Guardian Newspaper which noted “greenwash” had recently made its first appearance in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. That same article recognizes that the terms use for at least the previous decade.

WorldCat, the world’s largest network of library content, first cites “greenwash”
in a book from 1992. Published in the USA, by Kenny Bruno, the 32-page pamphlet called The Greenpeace book of Greenwash appears in the online catalogs of only six libraries.

In JULIEN, the VLS catalog, Eric L. Lane’s book, Clean Tech Intellectual Property : Eco-Marks, Green Patents and Green Innovation, contains a chapter on “greenwashing and eco-mark abuse.

A broader JULIEN subject search for Environmental Policy — Moral and Ethical Aspects lists six titles and Business Enterprises — Environmental Aspects lists 22 titles.

Despite the newness of greenwashing as a term many articles about it exist.
For a more scholarly approach then a word search in Google, consider “greenwashing” as a term in Google Scholar.

The database, Energy and Environment Daily, to which we subscribe, has 64 hits in the last ten years on the term greenwashing.

Join us on Tuesday at noon when Brian Dunkiel will make all this clear to us.