Navigating the Intricacies of Greenwashing Across Digital Formats: An Examination of Non-Greenwashing and Greenwashing Posts in Visual and Textual Contexts.
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- Master of Science 
This thesis seeks to bridge a research gap concerning the credibility of greenwashing in digital channels. It does so by exploring lifelike scenarios in the form of visual content—represented through brand awareness posts—and text content—depicted as statement posts. These are both strategies frequently employed in marketing. The goal is to provide a more nuanced understanding of how greenwashed content impacts the dependent variable credibility based on its presentational form. A quantitative survey experiment was employed to acquire the consumer’s opinions in line with my formulated hypothesis grounded in the literature review. The findings grant a beneficial understanding of the complexity surrounding greenwashing. It is evident that the consumer perceives the credibility of posts differently when comparing their exposure to vague green communication both as visuals and text, in opposition to certified and documented green communication. The study showed the potential of complicated biased opinions when controlling for different brands, thus, complicating the interpretation. Holzweiler posts had a significant reduction of credibility for greenwashing, and GANT presented significant results for an increase in credibility when exposed to text (statement) posts, implying the power of persuasion. However, these effects are all marginal compared to the extensive effect of liking the post and previously established brand credibility, the latter closely related to Corporate social responsibility (CSR). This study supports previous studies of how a decrease in credibility is harmful for the brands CSR. From a managerial perspective, it gives a comprehensive insight into the complexity of greenwashing, facilitating the enhancement of green strategic decision-making for brands to better fit regulatory laws, not risking a loss of reputation. Additionally, it contributes to the awareness of these illegal activities and helps brands understand the power of documented and precise communication, regardless of the media.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Marketing - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2023