Sustainable brainwashing: Greenwashing

Topics: Environmentalism, Business, 1963 Pages: 6 (1309 words) Published: June 17, 2014

Sustainable brainwashing:

Name: Emiel van Ginhoven
Student number:502575
Name teacher:Philippa Collin
Word count: 984
I owe the subject of my essay to the class: “Writing an argument”, for which I want to express my thanks. Having written this essay partially with joy, partially with frustration, the final result came into being with a little guidance of some of my friends. Having small debates about sustainable practice, finding interesting new sources and some pointers in concerns with subjectivity and sarcasm, to avoid them more than I did. The author wishes the reader a pleasant intellectual venture.


“Our product is green, 100% environmentally friendly and completely natural” (too many companies, 2014). That is a company worth investing in, you might think! Think again, the concept is greenwashing, its trade is deception and its tools are marketing and the people’s goodwill. The term greenwashing in this essay is used to describe a process where businesses pretend to be more socially responsible or green than they actually are. Companies must stop greenwashing and start actually transforming into a sustainable and responsible company. However companies could easily argue that businesses are there to make profits within the legal scope and they are doing just that, so the ball is kicked in the consumer’s court. But, consumers must be able to trust reliable data provision without being fooled. Arguments that support the thesis are that investment in sustainability will actually be rewarding to business and there is simply no future for greenwashing. However, it all starts with the businesses and their fuel: Money. Main body

An argument from the corporate world in response to the thesis statement could be: Businesses are there to make profit, if the people don’t want to take responsibility for the decision to invest some time in informing themselves, it is their fault. With court not punishing this argument, it seems a viable one. However the duty is also with the business, as we are all in this together. Consumers are doing their best to go green, as green marketing is: “driven by rising consumer awareness about environment, regulatory pressure to adopt eco-friendly products and processes, and concerns about health and safety” (PRWEB, 2012). Then for businesses to make advantage of this by deliberately deceiving the consumer, that is rather questionable. “Business decisions influence employees, customers, suppliers and competitors, while company operations affect communities, governments and the environment.” (Markgraf, 2014) What impact does a business make that is based on greed and deception? Not only do companies make a large difference on these variables but: “Consumers must rely on information provided by firms and third-parties to determine the environmental impact of various products”(Knight, 2013), the companies must take their responsibility to inform the consumers correctly, because consumers should be able to trust companies for their word, the full truth, such as H&M launching a “Conscious Collection” (H&M, 2014), however the rest of their business concept mostly relies on: “driving down prices and increasing pressure within the industry to produce more, quicker, with little regard to the people and environments involved.” (Marati , 2012). The marketing department does not agree, though. But what about actual responsible practice, why shy for it?

Businesses that invest in sustainability, will actually be rewarded as : “some of the world's biggest corporations believe they can better protect against coming regulation, market fluctuations, resource scarcity, ethical reputation issues and other variables that will hurt profits in the future.”(Yeomans M, 2014) Those corporations are as big because they foresee the future, where business is going. It is true that...
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