"Greenwashing” is when people or companies present themselves as more environmentally responsible than they are. And according to new research, a lot of people are guilty of it. In a survey of 2-thousand American adults, over half of them admit to pretending to be more environmentally friendly when other people are around.
The poll also reveals:
- Just over half (53%) of respondents have exaggerated their environmentally sustainable habits to impress others and 54% confess that they’re less likely to practice those habits if no one can see them.
- A fifth admit that pressure from society (20%) and not wanting to be judged (19%) motivate them to be more eco-friendly, but those aren’t the top reasons.
- Caring about the planet and wanting to protect it for future generations is the top reason people have for being environmentally sustainable, followed by it feeling “like the right thing to do,” and wanting to be positive role models.
- But for three-quarters of those surveyed, the motivation behind people’s environmentally sustainable actions don’t matter, as long as they’re doing them.
- While 45% have bought an item just because it was marketed as sustainable, 42% have purchased something and later realized the company they bought it from wasn’t as sustainable as it seemed.
- But even then, 70% say they feel better about buying something that claims to be environmentally sustainable, regardless of the truth.
- “Greenwashing” tactics respondents have seen companies do include:
- Using green imagery or buzzwords without actually following sustainable practices (47%)
- Highlighting one or two sustainable practices or products while ignoring other environmentally harmful ones within the company (44%)
- Ignoring or downplaying negative social or environmental impacts of products or practices (40%)
- Making vague or misleading claims about their environmental impact without giving specific details (39%)