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Last edited 24 Sep 2021
Greenwashing (green sheen or greenwash) is a term associated with claims made about the environmentally beneficial characteristics of products, services and business practices that are misleading or exaggerated. A typical example might be a petrol station claiming it is 'green' because it has a wind turbine powering an advertising display.
Early greenwashing techniques first appeared in marketing in the 1960s. Environmentalist Jay Westerveld came up with the term ‘greenwashing’ in the 1980s. He used it in a paper to describe the false equivalency created by hotels that asked guests to reuse their towels to save the environment.
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