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Research · Wren Montgomery

Against the green

May 1, 2019

Wine Glass

More and more often, consumers are putting their money where their values are and demanding firms be more environmentally and socially conscious.

That’s led to the troubling evolution of corporate greenwashing, where firms exaggerate the environmental benefits of their products or services. And that in turn brought about a lesser-known phenomenon called brownwashing, where companies understate their environmental efforts, fearing consumers will be skeptical of their green claims.

Research from Assistant Professor Wren Montgomery looks at the reasons why this occurs in the wine industry.

“Some companies shy away from being too overt about their greenness because of the history of some green products not being as high quality. Others just don’t feel they have to talk about the sustainability link,” she said.

Montgomery says there are lessons for all businesses about the importance of being transparent and doing rigorous analysis about what you’re communicating to consumers.

Listen to an interview with Wren Montgomery