Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is more of a movement, which promotes companies to be more aware of the impacts that it creates around the locality. It also encourages the companies to have an interest in the stakeholders and around in the environment. It contributes to the development that is kept for the future without harming the present situation economically, socially and even the environmental conditions around.
According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, CSR is a continuous process in which the company commits to be ethical in its behavior and have an improvement in the quality of life and the society at large (2012books.lardbucket.org, 2016).
Greenwashing on the other hand, states that the companies try to be friendlier to the environment than they actually appear to be. Greenwashing is more of a critic to the concept of CSR. Many companies use it against their rivals to show that they can use the power more efficiently and in a very cost-effective way both at the same time (Vries et al. 2015)
Corporate Social Responsibility globally has many objectives such as strategy, which deals with how to implement the business strategies without harming the economy and the environment, while the brand stays reputable as well as there is a healthy competition in the market. The relation between the customer and the product is also one of the objectives where loyalty plays a key part between the customer and the company. The company in turn uses new technologies to innovate their products by utilizing the natural resources in a cost-effective manner. Humans also are a key part of the objective as the workforce should be handled in an organized manner and various management and benefit programs should be conducted in order to satisfy the workforce and bring out the best through them by imparting knowledge, while giving them the assured remuneration (Idowu, Capaldi and Zu 2013)
Greenwashing on the other hand has many sins. Most common in practice is the sin of Hidden Trade-off which states that the product is green because it may contain recycled paper or plastic. The original product may be harming the society but due to the single feature that it contains the product maybe available in the market. The second most common sin is that when the products are sent for review then the organization reviewing it consists of a limited workforce. The products on the other hand comes in at a bulk, sometimes it happens that the product might just have a single feature about the CSR but it gets passed due to negligence. Another form of sin is the vagueness of the product because the exact amount of the recycled waste is never mentioned in some of the products. The level of toxicity maybe high while recycling that product but only a certain percentage of it is mentioned on the label or on the backside of the product. The other two types of sins include lesser of two evils where the product maybe green while the production process takes place but when used in practical the product harms the society and the environment at large, cigarettes being the perfect example of this. The other sin is known as fibbing where the product includes posters in it that are false and that it is marketed. Customers unaware of the products keep on using it without knowing that the company has duped them with a product that is harmful to the society after a certain point of time of its usage. The companies very frequently commit these sins and the products are being used in the markets openly and freely (Alves 2009).
Sustainability can never be limited to only the environment. It also affects the behavior of the humans, doing the right thing, which is enjoyable and engaging enough without harming the society, or the environment at large can be called as sustainability. The company’s claim that they are trying hard enough is not suitable (Pope and W?raas 2015). The underlying claims of sustainability are often hidden and the practices that the corporate houses indulge into cause a continuous damage to the environment. The companies should be honest enough about how their doings are harming the environment. The plain truth is that as the companies claim to be green they do not look all that greener because any corporate houses or organizations do have an impact on the environment maybe on a small or large scale depending on the strength or the condition of the organization (Dzafic and Petersson 2016)
In the present scenario, Greenwashing is applied by most of the companies which helped the market to gain some more rivals in that particular type of business because most companies do not want to reveal the harmful impacts it is causing because of such fierce competition. They might even be labeled as a greenwashed company, that is what the companies fear about (Carroll 2015). The companies particularly keep their green initiatives to themselves and within their area and reaping the harvest in form of cost and risk deduction, improvement in the quality of the product and a major boost in the employee satisfaction sector.
To make things in a briefed version, many companies are taking the leap of faith by going into the green biz business and the numbers are on a rise. Whenever the report of the company is published annually or quarterly, they keep a separate section for the CSR activities that they have undertaken and try to publish a story. The starting of the story shows a little transparency about the company, which is a positive point as of now (Becker-Olsen and Potucek 2013).
Anyone who needs to debate on the topic that is Corporate Social Responsibility a little more than Greenwashing, then it is wrong to say that as CSR activities deal with the environment to be maintained in a very healthy manner. Companies nowadays do not want to discuss their activities, as they fear that other companies may point out some mistakes in their undertaking thus hampering their brand image and reputation. However, in a way that is good, rather than being pin pointed and bought down in the eyes of their prospective customers. Knowingly or unknowingly, they make mistakes but on a small front which should not be considered as Greenwashing. Therefore, if a company particularly deals in Greenwashing then the society should start to take action on its behalf. Other than that an initial good impact gives rise for a better environment and mankind in the future.
2012books.lardbucket.org. (2016). Integrating Goals and Objectives with Corporate Social Responsibility. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Dec. 2016].
Alves, I., 2009. Green spin everywhere: How greenwashing reveals the limits of the CSR paradigm. Journal of Global Change and Governance, 2(1), pp.1-26.
Becker-Olsen, K. and Potucek, S., 2013. Greenwashing. In Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility (pp. 1318-1323). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Carroll, A.B., 2015. Corporate social responsibility. Organizational Dynamics, 44, pp.87-96.
Dzafic, J. and Petersson, A., 2016. Greenwashing in CSR reports-A case study of two entities.
Idowu, S.O., Capaldi, N. and Zu, L., 2013. Encyclopedia of corporate social responsibility. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Pope, S. and W?raas, A., 2015. CSR-Washing is Rare: A Conceptual Framework, Literature Review, and Critique. Journal of Business Ethics, pp.1-21.
Vries, G., Terwel, B.W., Ellemers, N. and Daamen, D.D., 2015. Sustainability or profitability? How communicated motives for environmental policy affect public perceptions of corporate greenwashing. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 22(3), pp.142-154.