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Greenwashing: is looking 'green' sufficient to be successful in eco-sensitive times?

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Abstract
The practice of deceptively inflating a company's or its product's environmental benefits by using green PR or green marketing is known as greenwashing (a portmanteau of "green" and "whitewash"). The term is generally used when significantly more money or time is spent on advertising “being green” (that is, operating with consideration for the environment), rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices. Several cases (e.g. Chevron) illustrate that greenwashing can be an effective marketing tactic. However, as the years go by, research has repeatedly documented skepticism among consumers towards environmental and ecological advertising. Nevertheless, in several cases the use of subtle green cues in advertisements (rather than explicit claims) might fall below this threshold of disbelief and thereby avoid negative attitude effects. Most of the limited prior research has examined the effectiveness of explicit claims (Montoro, Luque, Fuentes and Cañadas, 2006). Virtually nothing has been done on more subtle use of green cues. Understanding if and how automatic effects of green background cues might have similar effects as explicit statements, while leading to less scepticism, may help advertisers create more effective communication strategies.
Keywords
Environmental advertising, Greenwashing, Consumer skepticism, Claims vs cues

Citation

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Chicago
Krekels, Goedele, and Frank Goedertier. 2011. “Greenwashing: Is Looking ‘Green’ Sufficient to Be Successful in Eco-sensitive Times?” Vlerick Brand Community. vlerick.com: Vlerick Leuven Gent Management school.
APA
Krekels, G., & Goedertier, F. (2011). Greenwashing: is looking “green” sufficient to be successful in eco-sensitive times? Vlerick brand Community. vlerick.com: Vlerick Leuven Gent Management school.
Vancouver
1.
Krekels G, Goedertier F. Greenwashing: is looking “green” sufficient to be successful in eco-sensitive times? Vlerick brand Community. vlerick.com: Vlerick Leuven Gent Management school; 2011.
MLA
Krekels, Goedele, and Frank Goedertier. “Greenwashing: Is Looking ‘Green’ Sufficient to Be Successful in Eco-sensitive Times?” Vlerick brand Community 2011 : n. pag. Print.
@misc{2030126,
  abstract     = {The practice of deceptively inflating a company's or its product's environmental benefits by using green PR or green marketing is known as greenwashing  (a portmanteau of {\textacutedbl}green{\textacutedbl} and {\textacutedbl}whitewash{\textacutedbl}). The term is generally used when significantly more money or time is spent on advertising {\textquotedblleft}being green{\textquotedblright} (that is, operating with consideration for the environment), rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices. Several cases (e.g. Chevron) illustrate that greenwashing can be an effective marketing tactic.  However, as the years go by, research has repeatedly documented skepticism among consumers towards environmental and ecological advertising. Nevertheless, in several cases the use of subtle green cues in advertisements (rather than explicit claims) might fall below this threshold of disbelief and thereby avoid negative attitude effects. Most of the limited prior research has examined the effectiveness of explicit claims (Montoro, Luque, Fuentes and Ca{\~n}adas, 2006). Virtually nothing has been done on more subtle use of green cues. Understanding if and how automatic effects of green background cues might have similar effects as explicit statements, while leading to less scepticism, may help advertisers create more effective communication strategies.},
  author       = {Krekels, Goedele and Goedertier, Frank},
  keyword      = {Environmental advertising,Greenwashing,Consumer skepticism,Claims vs cues},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {3},
  publisher    = {Vlerick Leuven Gent Management school},
  series       = {Vlerick brand Community},
  title        = {Greenwashing: is looking 'green' sufficient to be successful in eco-sensitive times?},
  year         = {2011},
}