Wednesday Word Day: Greenwashing


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It’s Wednesday Word Day at Green Queen!

Every Wednesday, Green Queen is going to post a new eco word/phrase and its definition in the hopes that we can all improve our green vocabulary. Eventually these entries will add up to create Green Queen’s very own Green Glossary. Happy Learning!

Today’s word is: greenwashing (ˈɡriːnˌwɒʃɪŋ), verb

    • to deceptively, superficially and/or insincerely show concern for the environment through green PR or green marketing;
    • to spend large amounts on green PR or green marketing instead of spending it directly on the environment;
    • to misleadingly label otherwise harmful and/or toxic products and services green and/or environmentally friendly.

Originally coined in 1986 by Jay Westervelt to describe the misleading practices of hotels that marketed their supposed environmental efforts to conserve water and energy by placing signs in rooms inciting guests to “Save the Environment” by choosing not to get their linens washed daily. Westervelt, a New York environmentalist,  published a scathing essay accusing the hotel industry of using the cause of the environment to drive up their profits and reduce operating costs while having minimal impact on the environment.

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photo credit: Les Amis de la Terre France via photopin cc

Author

  • Sonalie Figueiras

    Serial social entrepreneur Sonalie Figueiras is the founder & editor-in-chief of Green Queen, an award-winning impact media platform advocating for social & environmental change in Hong Kong with a mission to shift consumer behaviour through inspiring & empowering original content. She is also the founder & CEO of SourceGreenPackaging,com, the global wholesale eCom marketplace for sustainable packaging products, Ekowarehouse, the global sourcing platform for certified organic products, with a mission to make safe, quality food accessible & affordable for the whole planet. With over a decade of experience in publishing, digital marketing, organic trade and health & sustainability, she is an eco wellness industry veteran with a keen eye for market trends and a sought-after international speaker and moderator, sharing her expertise on stages across Asia and beyond, including TEDx and Harvard Business School.


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