The act of corporations using public relations propaganda to distract from corporate malfeasance in their environmental policy, in order to give the impression that the degraders are benign, beneficial, or caring about the environment.
Instead of addressing environmental concerns, all Exxon Incorporated did after their last oiltanker spill was a greenwashing of the issue by printing up lots of glossy advertising posters with happy children playing in the ocean, talking about the 100 birds they scrapped oil off of out of the kindness of their hearts--while completely ignoring they destroyed hundreds of square miles of oceanfront.
when companies pretend to be environmentally friendly when in fact they are not.
Both are examples of "greenwashing".
- planting a tree to clear your conscience of your new carbon emitting SUV purchase.
- Kyoto accord, the theory of emissions credits, where a country may go over their limit, but instead of dealing with the issue they just buy the unused credits off of a country that has not used all of theirs.
Taking superficial, PR actions to make your company or organization appealing to people concerned about the environment.
BP's greenwashing campaign to appeal to the climate change crowd has caught up with them.