No End in Sight? A Greenwash Review and Research Agenda

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Abstract

Greenwashing is more virulent than ever. A profusion of environmental, social, and governance and net zero commitments are becoming fraught with questionable and misleading claims. At the same time, we are no closer to solving the pressing environmental and social issues of our time. In this review, we seek to examine this shift and summarize changes in greenwash research into three key phases: (a) 1.0 Static Communication; (b) 2.0 Dynamic Management; and (c) 3.0 Narratives about the Future. We analyze current key areas of developing literature and point to numerous open questions for future research. Next, we go beyond much of the published work to examine emerging tactics and lay out a forward-looking agenda for future research. We also propose a model of Corporate Miscommunication, integrating various streams in greenwash research. In doing so, we seek to lay a pathway for greenwashing researchers to finally find that elusive “end” to greenwashing.

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Montgomery, A. W., Lyon, T. P., & Barg, J. (2023). No End in Sight? A Greenwash Review and Research Agenda. Organization and Environment. SAGE Publications Inc. https://doi.org/10.1177/10860266231168905

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