To implement token environmentally friendly initiatives as a way of hiding or deflecting criticism about existing environmentally destructive practices. Also: green-wash, green wash.
The public-relations campaign to greenwash sludge entailed using the word "biosolids" instead of "sludge" wherever possible. In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency chipped in a $ 300,000 grant to "educate the public" about the wonderful qualities of sludge, part of which went to Powell Tate, a blue-chip Washington public-relations and lobbying firm. By 1998 the campaign had dropped the term "biosolids" into hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. It also included letters to Merriam-Webster from sewage-industry representatives such as Peter Machno, who manages Seattle's sludge-to-fertilizer program. "It looks like we are making progress on getting it included in a future edition," Machno wrote in a 1994 letter to Paul Cappellano, an editor at Merriam-Webster. "I am pleased that the term sludge will not appear in the definition."
Sharon Rampton, "Let them eat nutri-cake," Harper's, November 1998
A national survey into attitudes towards skin care and cosmetic products reveals major concern for animal welfare among British women. An overwhelming majority (70 per cent) are against the proposed introduction of legislation by the European Community which will require cosmetic manufacturers to test their products on animals. . . .
"What is clear from the survey is that the British woman is not willing to beautify herself at the expense of a defenceless animal" says Ian Clayton-Smith, Innoxa's managing director.
"It is also a 'greenwash' to pretend that animal testing is the only issue. The inclusion of animal extracts in beauty product formulations is equally inhumane and Innoxa is totally opposed to such practices.
"BRITISH WOMAN SAY NO TO ANIMAL TESTING ON COSMETICS SURVEY," PR Newswire European, March 12, 1990
Continuing to ‘greenwash the public’ would be foolish.
—Daily Telegraph, October 14, 1989
This term combines green, "environmentally friendly," and whitewash, "to conceal flaws."