ERIC Number: EJ1093676
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Combating Greenwashing through Public Critique
Prody, Jessica M.
Communication Teacher, v30 n2 p94-99 2016
Greenwashing is defined as "the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service" (UL Environment, 2013). As "green living" has become a marketable concept, and desirable consumers seek to enact a green identity, more companies are utilizing greenwashing in their advertising campaigns. Companies from BP to Clorox to Walmart have used advertising to attach a green ethos to their products and brands that can mask or ignore the environmental and social justice issues involved in production, processing, packaging, and shipment of products. The ethics of greenwashing and its environmental and social consequences must be examined. Students are asked to do this in the author's Environmental Communication course by preparing their own advertisement critiques for a public audience at the end of their unit on media and the environment. In this unit activity, they critique an advertisement from a television, print, or electronic source that relies on green appeals. They draw on material from course readings, lecture, and electronic sources used during the course unit to complete their criticisms. This assignment has both intellectual and practical components. Encouraging students to critically consume media is one of the primary goals of this assignment. Students explore how environmental discourse is used to sell products, how the relationship between consumerism and environmental thought is constructed in advertising, and how environmental and social impacts can be erased by the discourse.
Descriptors: Social Justice, Advertising, Consumer Economics, Marketing, Environmental Influences, Media Research, Environmental Education, Criticism, Consumer Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A