Exploration of the extent of greenwashing in South African consumer products
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Greenwashing is a growing concern globally. The increase in the number of green-marketed products has resulted in an increase in greenwashing. Some companies market their products as green, while they are not. They then respond with greenwashing to neutralise condemnations from environmental laws and government or to gain competitive advantage. Investigations into the existence of greenwashing in developed countries have shown high percentages. This study was therefore aimed at investigating the magnitude of greenwashing in South African products and determining whether there is a similar trend to other investigated countries. This research study was conducted among six South African magazines, which have different target markets and therefore advertise different product categories. The results indicated that 94 percent of green-advertised products in South Africa were greenwashing. Baby products and cosmetic products had the highest percentage of green-advertised products and greenwashing products. Amongst the sins of greenwashing, which were used to analyse the greenness of the products, the sins of ‘vagueness’ and ‘no proof’ had the highest percentages and were evident in all product categories. The study also determined which target market was most susceptible to greenwashing. The results show that new mothers were more likely to buy green products, followed by women in general. The green claims that showed evidence of highest presence in South African products were BPA-free, Natural, Organic and Pure.