The Law and Economics of Corporate Social Responsibility and Greenwashing

14 U.C. Davis Business Law Journal 282 (2014)

Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-22

25 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2016 Last revised: 21 Mar 2016

See all articles by Miriam A. Cherry

Miriam A. Cherry

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

In this symposium article, I explore the concept of greenwashing in more depth. In the first part of the article, I start with first principles, looking at the origins of greenwashing, its definitions, and identifying the economic incentives that lead firms into the practice. The second part of this article examines the legal structure that allows greenwashing to occur, and with it, explores the pervasiveness and extent of greenwashing. The third part of this article articulates the harms of greenwashing. Intuitively, greenwashing involves deception, falsity, and hypocrisy that reflexively seem problematic. Precisely identifying the actual harm inflicted by some forms of greenwashing, however, is much more difficult to pinpoint. The last portion of the paper outlines the law and economics analysis to argue that greenwashing might, in the aggregate, represent one of the most serious challenges to achieving corporate social responsibility in business today.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, greenwashing, labor standards, environment

Suggested Citation

Cherry, Miriam A., The Law and Economics of Corporate Social Responsibility and Greenwashing (2014). 14 U.C. Davis Business Law Journal 282 (2014); Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2737740

Miriam A. Cherry (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States
314-977-04537 (Phone)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
151
Abstract Views
603
rank
194,605
PlumX Metrics