The Drivers of Greenwashing

California Management Review

38 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2011

See all articles by Magali A. Delmas

Magali A. Delmas

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Vanessa Cuerel Burbano

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Date Written: November 30, 2011


More and more firms are engaging in greenwashing, misleading consumers about firm environmental performance or the environmental benefits of a product or service. The skyrocketing incidence of greenwashing can have profound negative effects on consumer and investor confidence in environmentally friendly firms and products. Mitigating greenwashing is particularly challenging in a context of limited and uncertain regulation. This article examine the external (both institutional and market), organizational and individual drivers of greenwashing and offers recommendations for managers, policymakers, and NGOs to decrease its prevalence.

Keywords: greenwashing, environmental performance, symbolic management, institutional pressures, corporate social responsibility, environmental policy, green marketing

Suggested Citation

Delmas, Magali A. and Cuerel Burbano, Vanessa, The Drivers of Greenwashing (November 30, 2011). California Management Review. Available at SSRN:

Magali A. Delmas (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Vanessa Cuerel Burbano

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

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