Factors affecting greenwashing in eco-lodges of Isfahan Province

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Tourism, Faculty of Human sciences, Science and Arts University, Yazd, Iran


Introduction: The contrast of the organization's environmental performance with the green image presented is an example of greenwashing. Greenwashing in eco-lodges (which were created with the aim of developing sustainable tourism), has wide consequences for the environment, industry, tourists and other stakeholders. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the factors affecting greenwashing in these eco-lodges in order to control the problem. According to previous research, factors affecting can be divided greenwashing into three categories: 1. Causal factors (motivation to take advantage of the short-term benefits of green including image improvement, increasing market share, attracting capital, winning the trust of stakeholders, economic efficiency and competitive advantage); 2. Background (weakness of the internal environment (individual psychological triggers), the weakness of environmental knowledge) and the weakness of the external environment (weakness of informing relevant departments, the weakness of supervision)); 3. The moderator (tourist's environmental feedback); But due to the limited resources, in order to plan more precisely and control greenwashing, a quantitative test of these relationships is necessary. Therefore, in the current research, the effect of the mentioned factors on greenwashing in the eco-lodges of Isfahan Province was tested.
Material and methods: The research has a comparative approach, practical orientation, philosophical foundations of positivism, quantitative methodology and survey strategy. Data collection was done in the field and through a closed questionnaire. The formal and content validity of the questionnaire was confirmed by experts. Internal and external validity, and reliability (Cronbach's alpha, composite reliability and factor loadings) of the measuring instrument were also calculated and confirmed. Sampling was also done by a simple random method from the statistical population of managers of eco-lodges in Isfahan Province and the data was analyzed using partial least squares structural equations.
Results and discussion: The findings of the research showed that background factors have a direct positive effect and environmental feedback has a direct and indirect negative effect (due to background factors) on greenwashing, but the effect of causal factors and the moderating effect of environmental feedback (on the effect of causal factors on greenwashing) is not significant. Therefore, it is necessary to try to receive environmental feedback from guest tourists in eco-lodges. It is also recommended that tourism planners and officials focus on reducing background weaknesses. In this regard, the following solutions can be fruitful: increasing supervision, improving information and training of managers of eco-lodges regarding issues such as environmental considerations, the consequences of failure in this field and its effect on the long-term success of the eco-lodge in attracting tourists.
Conclusion: The findings of the research showed the fact that eco-lodges do not practice greenwashing in order to take advantage of the green benefits, but the underlying weaknesses make them negligent in fulfilling their environmental obligations. On the other hand, more feedback from tourists makes relevant agencies and environmental activists more aware, as well as managers of eco-lodges, and this sensitivity leads to improving performance and reducing background weaknesses and greenwashing. Therefore, according to the results of the research, we provided some practical suggestions to the officials and planners of the industry. The main axes of these suggestions are: increasing the awareness of the managers of eco-lodges, increasing the environmental monitoring of the activities of these accommodations, encouraging and reminding about the environmental sustainability of eco-lodges, and focusing on strengthening the environmental feedback of tourists (through encouraging sharing of opinions, rating the green performance of accommodation and adjusting demand again based on environmental performance).


Aggarwal, P. and Kadyan, A., 2014. Greenwashing: The darker side of CSR. Indian Journal of Applied Research. 4(3), 61-66.
Alarie, C., 2017. The Investigation of CEO Leadership Style as a Driver of Greenwashing and a Case Study Analysis to Provide Empirical Evidence for the Delmas and Burbano’s Drivers to Greenwashing Framework. dissertation, Concordia University.
Alipour, H., Malazizi, N. and Rezapouraghdam, H., 2018. Complementing sustainability through green marketing: from tourism operator’s perspective. In Proceedings  8th Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing and Management (ahtmm) Conference, 25th-29th June, Bangkok, Thailand. p. 636.
Babaie, M., 2017. Criminological investigation of environmental crimes (Ecoside). Ms.c. Thesis. University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.
Bello, F.G. and Kamanga, G., 2020. Drivers and barriers of corporate social responsibility in the tourism industry: The case of Malawi. Development Southern Africa. 37(2), 181-196.
Blome, C., Foerstl, K. and Schleper, M.C., 2017. Antecedents of green supplier championing and greenwashing: An mpirical study on leadership and ethical incentives. Journal of Cleaner Production. 152, 339–350.
Borouj, A., 2013. A comparative study of desert ecolodges from sustainable tourism development point of view. Ms.C. Thesis. Allameh Tabatabaie University, Tehran, Iran.
Daels, C., 2017. The influence of brand architecture on perceived greenwashing. Should you position your company, brand or product as environmentally friendly. Ms.C. Thesis. Ghent University, Belgium.
Davari, A. and Rezazadeh, A., 2017. Structural Equation Modeling with PLS. Fourth ed. Academic Center for Education, Culture, and Research (ACECR) Press., Tehran, Iran.
De Freitas Netto, S.V., Sobral, M.F.F., Ribeiro, A.R.B. and da Luz Soares, G.R., 2020. Concepts and forms of greenwashing: a systematic review. Environmental Sciences Europe. 32(1), 1-12.
De Jong, M.D., Huluba, G. and Beldad, A.D., 2020. Different Shades of Greenwashing: Consumers’ Reactions to Environmental Lies, Half-Lies, and Organizations Taking Credit for Following Legal Obligations. Journal of Business and Technical Communication. 34(1), 38-76.
Delmas, M.A. and Burbano, V.C., 2011. The drivers of greenwashing. California Management Review. 54, 64–87.
Doosti-Irani, M., 2021. Eco-Lodges: From expected social responsibility to perception of performance. In Proceedings The first International Conference on Challenges and Strategies for Sustainable Tourism Development Management with Emphasis on Ardabil Province. 2nd October, Ardabil, Iran.  pp. 1-10.
Doosti-Irani, M. and Basouli, M., 2021. Demand of an eco-lodge based on understanding its benefits for the destination and the tourist's mental norms: an emphasis on the need for spiritual marketing (Case study: Eco-Lodges of Yazd City). Tourism Planning and Development. 10(38), 125-144. (In Persian with English abstract).
Doosti-Irani, M., Basouli, M. and Asadi, M.M., 2023. Designing a conceptual model of greenwashing stimuli in eco-lodges: A foundation data study in Isfahan province. Geography and Environmental Planning. 34(2), 91-112. (In Persian with English abstract).
Du, X., 2015. How the market values greenwashing? Evidence from China. Journal of Business Ethics. 128, 547–574.
Gavrilović, Z.  and Maksimović, M., 2018. Green innovations in the tourism sector. Strategic Management. 23(1), 36-42.
Golestani, M., 2018. Strategic planning for the development of Ecologes (Case Study: Golestan County). Ms.C. Thesis. University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
Hair, J.F., Black, W.C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R.E. and Tatham, R. L., 1998. Multivariate data analysis. Uppersaddle River. Multivariate Data Analysis Upper Saddle River. 5(3), 207-219.
Karimi Sarme, Z., 2018. Investigating the effect of green wash in corporate social responsibility on purchasing intention for green products: The mediating effects of green satisfaction and green perceived risk. Ms.C. Thesis. University of Guilan, Guilan, Iran.
Karimi Sarme, Z., Esmaeilpour, R. and Mobasher Amini, R. A., 2019. Investigating the Effect of Green wash in Corporate Social Responsibility on Purchasing Intention for Green Products: The Mediating Effects of Green Satisfaction and Green Perceived Risk. Journal of business management. 11(4), 850-868.
Khan Pour, E., 2019. The effect of greenwashing on the intention and green shopping behavior of consumers (Case study: cosmetics products industry). Ms.C. Thesis. Ershad Damavand non-profit higher education institute. Tehran, Iran.
Lippert, I., 2011. Greenwashing. In: Wehr, K. (Ed.): Green culture: An A-to-Z guide. Sage Press Inc, United States of America, PP. 421-430.
Lyon, T. P. and Maxwell, J. W., 2011. Greenwash: Corporate environmental disclosure under threat of audit. Journal of economics & management strategy. 20(1), 3-41.
Lyon, T. P. and Montgomery, A. W., 2015. The means and end of greenwash. Organization & Environment. 28, 223–249.
Mishra, P., & Sharma, P., 2014. Green marketing: Challenges and opportunities for business. BVIMR Management Edge. 7(1), 78-87.
Pimonenko, T., Bilan, Y., Horák, J., Starchenko, L. and Gajda, W., 2020. Green Brand of Companies and Greenwashing under Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability. 12(4), 1679.
Ramus, C. A. and Montiel, I., 2005. When are corporate environmental policies a form of greenwashing?. Business and Society. 44, 377–414.
Rani, M. R. J. and Ravi, P., 2020. Factors Influencing Green Tourism–A Conceptual Approach. Studies in Indian Place Names. 40(18), 1144-1153.
Siano, A., Vollero, A., Conte, F. and Amalibe, S., 2017. More than words: Expanding the taxonomy of greenwashing after the Volkswagen scandal. Journal of Business Research. 71, 27–37.
Vice President of Tourism., 2021. Tourism facilities. Available online at: http://isfahancht.ir/TourismFa.aspx?p=222 and https://namad.mcth.ir.
Zareie, A., Siyahsarani kajouri, M. A. and Farsizade, H., 2014. Investigating the Effect of Green Wash on Green Product Buying Intention (Case: Customer of internet store of information publication). Public management research. 7(24), 67-85. (In Persian with English abstract).