Greenwashing Self Prompt

Prompt: What is greenwashing? What is sustainability and how does it impact us as consumers? How does sustainability contribute to our self-identity?

Greenwashing is buying or doing something marketed as “green” to offset other products or habits that are not as environmentally friendly. Sustainability is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brassington & Pettit, 2005, p.12, as cited by (Schielke & Altobelli, 2012). So, people buy things labeled as “green” in order to create a more sustainable lifestyle for them and the future generations. However, the bad news is that almost every product that is bought has at least some impact on the environment. To give an example, almost everything in a store is packaged in some way, and many of these ways negatively impact the environment, most of the packaging isn’t decomposable. This idea of sustainability contributes to our self-identity due to perceived moral obligation. Moral obligation is what we think we should do and self-identity is how we view or want to view ourselves. Consumers feel a moral obligation to help provide a sustainable environment for future generations. This helps consumers improve their self-identity. Yet again, almost every single product does negatively impact the environment in some way, leading to the question “is our current lifestyle sustainable?”

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