Greenwashing is the art of packaging products or corporate practices as environmentally friendly when, in reality, they are nothing more than eco-hogwash. With rapid industrialisation, fast-growing consumption and newly developing environmental, social and governance (ESG) regulations, India is no stranger to greenwashing. What makes greenwashing particularly nefarious is that it preys on the consumer’s genuine desire to make responsible choices. From corporate giants to local businesses, many have exploited this desire by affixing green labels to their products and services, creating an illusion of ecological mindfulness. Yet, the reality often tells a different story.
Greenwashing serves as a glaring betrayal of the fundamental principles underlying ESG initiatives. ESG is designed to promote genuine corporate responsibility, sustainability and accountability. However, when companies engage in greenwashing by misleadingly presenting themselves as environmentally friendly or socially responsible, they undermine the very essence of ESG. This deceit erodes trust among investors, consumers, and stakeholders, sowing scepticism about the authenticity of corporate commitments. Moreover, it diverts attention and resources away from enterprises genuinely striving to make meaningful positive impacts.