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CSSN Working Paper: An Integrated Framework to Assess Greenwashing

September 15, 2021

A Tool to Assess Greenwashing

Greenwashing is often used in subtle ways to mislead consumers and citizens all over the world. So far, there is no generally accepted definition or framework in the academic literature on greenwashing to expose the activities, policies, advertisements, press releases, pledges and audio-visuals of companies, governments or any other entities. A group of experts within the CSSN network developed a framework to fill this gap. This is the first time such an actionable framework is being proposed, and it offers a unique potential to highlight efforts that try to delay, dismay or distract real solutions that are urgently needed to tackle multiple crises. It could equally be used to develop practices and communication strategies that avoid greenwashing.

CSSN Working Paper 2021: Assessing Greenwashing

Draft Greenwashing Framework (xlsx)

Before proceeding to have this tool published in a peer-reviewed journal, the group welcomes feedback (whether you are an academic, journalist, business representative, policy maker, PR expert, or an active citizen) to improve the framework. If possible, pick a claim you suspect may be greenwashing and run through the framework to test whether the communication or practice indeed qualifies as greenwashing. You may also send us suggestions on the working paper, on rephrasing indicators in the framework, adding/deleting indicators, and ideas how to weight indicators. All feedback received will be evaluated in the CSSN working group and will contribute to the finalization of the paper and framework. Thank you in advance! 

Please submit feedback on the working paper through this google form and/or place your comments in the Excel and send them to