GREENWASHING IN TOURISM, SO HOW COMPANIES SHOULD NOT CREATE AN IMAGE
The image of a company and its offer stems from characteristics which are highlighted in promotion, as well as from everything that a potential recipient of information is able to find on the market. Building the image of ecologically sensitive and responsible business may affect not only its perception, but also buying decisions of customers. It seems, however, that in recent years statements and symbols relating to ecology, nature, and sustainable development are excessively exploited. Manifestation of this trend is greenwashing, defined as an apparent care for the environment by suggesting that the product is environmentally friendly (or natural), or a company is ecologically sensitive, which is not entirely true. But through such activities an image of a socially responsible business may be built. It was found that greenwashing means information that is partly false, irrelevant, incomprehensible, or omits critical issues. So, it could be stated that a manufacturer (or a seller) deceives potential customers. Results of research show, however, that consumers are guided not only by information about environmental characteristics of products, but also by a good brand and aesthetics. This article discusses characteristics of greenwashing with some examples from tourism.
Key words: creation of image, consumer behaviour, ecology, promotion, business responsibility, tourism