What constitutes being a “green” or a “sustainable” business or organization? Check out the Greenwashing Index to learn more about this topic. Here’s an excerpt from the website’s “About” page:
What is Greenwashing?
It’s Whitewashing, But With a Green Brush.
Everyone’s heard the expression “whitewashing” — it’s defined as “a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context.”
“Greenwashing” is the same premise, but in an environmental context.
It’s greenwashing when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush.
A classic example might be an energy company that runs an advertising campaign touting a “green” technology they’re working on — but that “green” technology represents only a sliver of the company’s otherwise not-so-green business, or may be marketed on the heels of an oil spill or plant explosion.
Or a hotel chain that calls itself “green” because it allows guests to choose to sleep on the same sheets and reuse towels, but actually does very little to save water and energy where it counts — on its grounds, with its appliances and lighting, in its kitchens and with its vehicle fleet.
Or a bank that’s suddenly “green” because you can conduct your finances online, or a grocery store that’s “green” because they’ll take back your plastic grocery bags, or …
You get the picture.