Revealing greenwashing: A consumers' perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


A significant problem arising in discursive green marketing practices is the growth of greenwashing; companies providing irrelevant, exaggerated or false information regarding a product's sustainable qualities. This has given rise to a number of issues yet has so far fallen short of being rigorously investigated. In this study, focus group discussions are used to provide one of the first assessments of the impact of greenwashing on consumers. The aim of the study is to gain an initial understanding of consumers' evaluation of different corporate green marketing messages both before and after disclosing greenwashing strategies used in the messages, as well as how this affects their perception towards the brands and their purchase intention. The findings from five focus group discussions indicate that the source of the message, eco-labels, brand perception and brand knowledge have a great influence on the perceived credibility of the message. The impact on buying behaviour of disclosing greenwashing strategies is influenced by a number of factors but even in cases where it does not directly result in a change of buying behaviour, consumers felt that being made aware of greenwashing was important to their overall decision making process. More importantly, from a practical tenacity, this research shows evidence that greenwashing influences credibility and opens avenues for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainability, Technology and Education (STE)
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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