ABSTRACT

Currently, being ‘green’ is great. We see companies massively engaging in communicating how green they are. Emphasising the reduction in carbon footprint of a company’s activities can be fruitful. Wal-Mart replaced its fl uorescent lights with 70 per cent more energy-effi cient LED lights, leading to a signifi cant reduction of its carbon footprint. This way, the company at the same time reduced its costs and served a social objective (Karnani 2011 ). However, not all observers may be equally convinced about the company’s environmental consciousness, and the risk of suspicion of greenwashing may withhold managers from claiming environmental consciousness when the company has no history of doing so. Warnings against and wariness of window-dressing and greenwashing abound (Walker and Wan 2012 ), and managers are well advised to use communication about an organisation’s environmental prowess carefully, so as not to come across as insincere or inauthentic and not to compromise the brand’s credibility (Balmer 2012 ; Vallaster et al. 2012 ). How, now, would credibly becoming environmentally conscious be feasible under such circumstances?