Environmental Ethics: Greenwashing

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Companies are increasingly trying to rebrand their companies so as to appeal to consumers as environmentally friendly. The term greenwashing refers to when companies use significant amounts of time and money advertising that they are operating with consideration for the environment without actually spending resources on environmentally sound practices. This is often portrayed by companies through the changing of the name or label of a product to evoke a sense of environmental sustainability to consumers. Social responsibility and sustainable development therefore play a large role in how a business will govern itself according to how environmentally sound said business is. With the ever looming threat of global warming, companies have rebranded many of their products with labels or advertisements that make them seem more environmentally friendly. Companies have perceived going green, the cure to all the planets problems, as a way of selling their products to consumers without actually practicing environmentally savvy procedures. This is considered “greenwashing.” Greenwashing came about as a means of companies to create a new green image through advertising in the 1960s. However, most products whilst having the image of being green, do not in fact have any impact on the environment what so ever. Take the Bank of America for example, they issue an Eco-Logique MasterCard that rewards customers with carbon offsets as they continue using the card. Customers then feel as though they are decreasing their carbon footprint by purchasing polluting goods, however only 0.5% of the purchase price of any product goes towards carbon offsets and the rest still goes to the bank. The Bank of America has essentially manipulated the consumers into agreeing to the terms of their credit card through the environment, thus creating the greenwashed effect. The above example allows an

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