Business and the Pursuit of Greenwashing

As global movements continue to arise, companies are more able to easily gauge what consumers seek in a business. These days, people are not only buying from companies for their products or services, but they also seek companies with a moral judgement or belief system that aligns with theirs. In turn, businesses seek consumers’ approval, looking to market themselves better. To fit this mold, businesses tend to study trends and aspects that consumers often look for. While this can be a great way to compel companies to shift focus to much wider issues, it can also lead companies to be performative and disingenuous to sell their products.

            This can be seen throughout Western society. Observers may have witnessed this shift for customer appeal during recent events, as companies leaned toward being more outspoken about their support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement — despite the movement having been in existence since 2013. Nevertheless, businesses have also shifted their gears in support of another prominent cause: climate change. With this outpouring of support, however, some question the sincerity of businesses who engage in this signaling and the possible damages that may surface because of it.

            Noticing that the climate change movement has gained a lot of traction, companies realize their role in causing climate change and reform some of their practices. This is often done by adopting more sustainable ways of creating products and marketing them as either sustainable or eco-friendly. However, this very action is what leads a number of companies down the path of deceit. While showcasing good intentions for the movement and creating seemingly eco-friendly products, businesses have ultimately taken part in what many refer to as greenwashing.

            Defined on Investopedia as “the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound,” greenwashing is undoubtedly unethical. Beyond ethics, this practice brings about a string of complications, specifically within the realm of climate change. Not only are companies misleading consumers, they hurt the environment in the implementation of such practices. Arguably, these companies add to the long list of issues that already must be done to combat climate change.

            Companies amongst the top polluters of the world, such as Chevron and BP, take part in this relentless game of greenwashing. Despite blatant evidence of their practices, these companies have dedicated sustainability pages on their websites, entailing their efforts in adopting eco-friendly processes and their dedication to the environment. It is noted on Chevron’s website that, “[o]ur priority of protecting the environment is not new to Chevron. It is deeply rooted in who we are and value: The Chevron Way,” all while being the number one company in a list of 20 companies responsible for one third of carbon emissions (The Guardian). Chevron is only one of the many large companies participating in greenwashing and preying on gullible consumers.

            Exaggerating the sustainability of products and services solely for the sake of appearances is wholly irresponsible. As companies lose credibility through greenwashing tactics, they also prolong the bleak effects on our climate and simultaneously weaken climate change efforts.


Works Cited

Chevron. “Chevron Environmental Initiatives.”, Chevron, 25 Aug. 2020,’s focuses on the following, the future targeting breakthrough technologies.

Taylor, Matthew, and Jonathan Watts. “Revealed: the 20 Firms behind a Third of All Carbon Emissions.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 9 Oct. 2019,