What is greenwashing and how does it work?

Governments are developing numerous standards, norms, rules, regulations, and specialised bodies to keep environmentally harmful practices in check.

For example, the Indian government started implementing Bharat Emission Standards in the early 2000s to curb pollution in the country’s growing urban areas.

Governments and companies in the private sector should ideally work together to contain environmental degradation.

However, complying with these rules and regulations, which undergo frequent changes and corrections, is costly for organisations.

To avoid these additional costs, companies resort to “greenwashing”.

In simple terms, greenwashing is a fraudulent activity that involves an organisation making false claims about the sustainability of a product or a service.

Often, companies make exaggerated statements about how environmentally friendly their product is, which is also a form of greenwashing.

For example, a garments company may claim that their clothes are made of entirely recycled materials or only from natural fabrics.

However, this claim distracts consumers from the fact that the process of producing these clothes still creates by-products that cause air and water pollution.

In such cases, greenwashing creates an illusion of sustainability.