4 Times Major Brands Fell Foul To Greenwashing


Greenwashing is a huge issue plaguing many businesses today, and there are a lot of examples of big brands falling foul to the trend. Greenwashing is when an organisation makes claims regarding their sustainability and green practices, which are not quite the whole truth.

Instead of being green and sustainable, brands which are greenwashing are positioning themselves in this way to win round consumers and make sales. It is actively misleading customers in a bid to benefit from the rise in conscious consumerism.

Today, we are taking a look into four major brands that fell victim to greenwashing.

Coca Cola

Coca Cola have been revealed as the largest plastic polluter on the planet, and that’s a claim that is easy to believe when you consider how many plastic bottles they produce every minute. While we all hope these plastic bottles find their way into recycling machinery, it certainly isn’t always the case. The drinks brand recently launched their ‘World Without Waste’ campaign, making claims about the company’s sustainability. Since launching the marketing ploy, the brand is being sued for greenwashing by the Earth Island Institute, and it seems there is little truth behind the sustainable claims being made.


McDonalds have been accused of greenwashing on more than one occasion, as the brand has made multiple efforts to appear ethical. They’ve been called out for fake claims over sustainably sourced meats in Canada, and most recently, for announcing their plans to be net-zero by 2050. McDonalds face real issues over the amount of carbon emissions their beef supplies produce, and the only real way to combat this is a drastic menu change.


In recent months, Shell Energy have been marketing themselves as a greener brand, but watchdogs have been quick to point out the problems in their claims. Their tactic of purchasing offsetting certificates has been criticised as they are still one of the largest polluters in the world. Shell’s headquarters are located in the Netherlands, and local governments have made the decision to pull their latest ad campaigns as they have been hailed as misleading and greenwashing.


The Swedish furniture brand Ikea has gained somewhat of a cult following over the years, but recently they have been mixed up in a major greenwashing scandal. It was discovered the brand was illegally sourcing wood and their buy-back initiatives simply make them look greener without any real results.

Each of these brands has fallen foul to greenwashing in recent times, and are all great examples of what not to do when creating your own businesses sustainability initiatives. Whether you are investing in used recycling machinery or offering customers the opportunity to offset their carbon with your services, you need to be able to back up your sustainability claims.

For more information on how WRT can help your business boost its green initiatives and set up a reputable and reliable recycling programme, contact us today.