Consumer's Ethical Perception on Greenwashing

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF)

Abstract: Background  A new way to promote environmentally friendly goods has arisen as the market has evolved. Greenwashing arose from societal pressures and a strong desire for green customers. Some companies' greenwashing methods were exposed as unprecedented pressure was put on the businesses in an effort to improve their overall environmental performance. Greenwashing creates consumer doubt by denying them a clear option of environmentally friendly products. Greenwashing makes individuals unwilling to purchase ecologically friendly products, and it complicates the purchasing process for green customers who are worried about their consumption patterns because they must exert more effort to validate the products' green claims.  Purpose  The purpose of the study is to explore how consumer ethical standards are reflected in the perception of greenwashing.  Method  The authors have opted to do research into the areas of greenwashing and ethical consumer behavior. From an ethical standpoint, this study looks into consumer opinions of greenwashing behavior and greenwashed products. To acquire a better knowledge of how consumers reflect consumer ethics in the greenwashing perception, semi-structured interviews and focus groups were used as the qualitative study approach.  Conclusion  Participants discussed their ethical beliefs and dilemmas around the greenwashing topic and expressed their moral beliefs that were later found to be contradictory between theory and practice. The analysis shows that both altruistic and egoistic values have an impact on the participants' attitudes. The participants initially wish to do good, but they eventually put their altruistic beliefs aside owing to ego or necessity. This study has contributed to the knowledge of ethical consumer perceptions of greenwashing since the major findings depict the entire picture of how greenwashing perceptions and ethical standards are linked. As a result, disparities and opposing conceptions emerge between the participants' perspectives and perceptions of their ego and that of society. 

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