GREENWASHING (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 - Economy)

News-CRUX-10     21st December 2023        

Context: Recently, Dutch airline KLM found itself in a legal dispute with environmentalists in an Amsterdam court, as they question whether the airline's advertisements misled customers in a suspected case of "greenwashing."


  • About: Greenwashing is when firms or governments give a false impression that all of their products or activities are climate-friendly or help in reducing emissions.
  • Strategies and Tactics: It may manifest when a company emphasizes the sustainable aspects of a product to divert attention from its environmentally harmful activities.
  • Concept of Greenwashing: As defined by Investopedia, greenwashing involves the use of environmental imagery, misleading labels, and concealed tradeoffs to present a false picture of a company's commitment to sustainability.
  • Volkswagen Scandal: The infamous 2015 Volkswagen scandal serves as a classic example of greenwashing, where the German car company was caught cheating in emissions testing for its supposedly eco-friendly diesel vehicles.

Scenario in India

  • Greenwashing, the practice of promoting misleading or false environmental claims to portray a company or product as environmentally friendly deceptively, is also a prevalent issue in India. 
  • Unlike the USA, EU, etc., India lacks specific laws regulating environmental claims made by companies. 
  • Laws in India: The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) plays a regulatory role in monitoring advertising practices and holds some jurisdiction over allegations of greenwashing.