Increasingly more marketing campaigns are focusing on sustainability. However, with a greater emphasis on sustainability and “going green” we are seeing more examples of greenwashing.

Greenwashing is providing misleading information about how a company’s products or activities are more environmentally sound then they actually are and inflating their green credentials in the process. Greenwashing is now deemed as unethical, even though it origins date back to the 1980’s.

Greenwashing in the transport industry undermines global biodiversity plans as well has endangering natural habitats and communities. Transport is responsible for a large share of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions and a major contributor to climate change, as it consumes one third of all energy, most of which comes from oil.

So how do we combat it?

The answer is simple; we must invest in more sustainable and ethical modes of transport that have the research and evidence to back them up. By encouraging the use of pool or shared vehicles over personal vehicles the average person can reduce their annual mobility emissions by 33-67%.

Below are a few tips for spotting greenwashing:

  • Just because it has a green leaf on it doesn’t make it a sustainable product or service. Read the label not just the packaging.
  • Ask yourself “Has the product had a positive or no impact on the environment?” e.g. cycling a bike instead of driving a car, reduces the amount of carbon emissions being produced, thus having a positive impact on the environment.
  • Check the company’s ESG and CSR credentials and procedures.

All in all, a company’s environmental decisions cannot just be based on a cost benefit analysis, but instead should redesign their procedures and implement more sustainable and environmentally processes.


Source: EEA. European Envirnomental Agency . 2021.