The term “green washing” was coined in 1986 by Jay Westervelt in reference to the hotel industry. Green washing refers to a company using marketing deceptively appear environmentally friendly.
One of the first examples I found was public utilities companies in the 1970’s spending 8 times what was allocated for pollution reduction on environmental marketing. This is a broad scale example of greenwashing at an early stage. This was probably one of the earliest examples as the environmental movement had not taken hold in America until the 1960’s.
Since I was born after the term was coined, I can’t say I know the absolute first case of greenwashing. However, the one that comes to my attention first is Herbal Essences. Herbal Essences advertised that their product was “a totally organic experience” with no evidence to back up their claims.
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