From Greenwash to Great: A practical guide to great green marketing (without the greenwash)

Freya Williams with Seth Farbman


In September 2009, at the inaugural meeting of the OgilvyEarth global advisory board, our advisors were bullish on the prospects and potential of sustainability-oriented marketing. Done well, they said, it could be world changing — transforming the way we look at the world, catalyzing an appetite for positive change and offering consumers concrete ways to take action. they shared the belief that it could become one of the major forces propelling the transition to a sustainable economy, as well as a path to leadership for corporations in a dynamic market already valued at well over $200 billion in the us alone.1

But they flagged a particularly stubborn blot on this otherwise promising landscape: greenwash.

Greenwash is not a new concept. the term is believed to have emerged from the Rio earth summit in 1992, and it entered the Concise Oxford Dictionary in 1999.