Ref: IMD-7-2196

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2196

Order this case study

Distinguishing greening from greenwashing

Knut Haanaes

By Professor Knut HaanaesKnut Haanaes and Lisa Simone Duke

This case explores the phenomenon of ‘greenwashing’ and how many companies communicate that they are serious about sustainability but how, in reality, they are less green than they actually are.

The case challenges students to think about who we can trust and whether ‘credible signals’ could help to distinguishing those who are ‘greening’ from those who are ‘greenwashing’.

The case illustrates with sustainability announcements and asks how can you validate credible claims from those that aren’t?

Learning Objective

This case is part of a mini-series focused on business and society that challenges participants to consider the lessons of various events and examples and how they can apply the learning to their own context. In this case the learning objectives are: 

How can we distinguish statements that are ‘green’ and sustainable from those that are simply ‘greenwashing’?

Keywords Greening, Greenwashing, Sustainability
Settings 2020
Type Published Sources
Copyright ©IMD 2020
Order this case study

Reference: IMD-7-2196

IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre, UK Office

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Fax +44 (0)1234 751125
Email [email protected]

The Case Centre, US office

Babson College

Babson Park, Wellesley MA 02457, USA
Tel +1 781 239 5884
Fax +1 781 239 5885
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]

Copyright information

IMD retains all proprietary interests in its case studies and notes. Without prior written permission, IMD cases and notes may not be reproduced, used, translated, included in books or other publications, distributed in any form or by any means, stored in a database or in other retrieval systems. For additional copyright information related to case studies, please contact Case Services.


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2196

Order this case study
Looking for something specific?

Keep reading