Against Greenwashing: How upright CSR-players can protect themselves

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a promising management strategy but not yet free of risks. Opportunism such as greenwashing can hinder the success of enterprises involved in CSR in various ways. Such responsible enterprises can loose their credibility when being falsly accursed of greenwashing or by competitors that only appear to be sustainable and ruin the image of an entire branche. Both scenarios origin from asymmetric distributed information between competitors. This asymmetry can lead to unfair competition to the disadvantage of the reliable CSR-enterprises and their clients. Using the example of two enterprises located in the  German federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia – one large and one of medium size – the paper highlights the measures that both good examples put into place to avoid these risks. Promising approaches are audited reports, the use of the social capital of the firm, signaling and so-called compliance co-operations.

Maaß, F.; Icks, A. (2017): Wider Greenwashing: Wie integre CSR-Akteure sich absichern können, in: Bungard, P.; Schmidpeter, R. (Hrsg.): CSR in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Nachhaltigkeits-Transformation in der Wirtschaft, Zivilgesellschaft und Politik, Köln, S. 381-394.

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