Back to search

April 12 panel looks at ethics of 'green'

‘Greenwashing’ vs. sustainability is the topic of annual ethics panel

With Earth Day approaching, the ninth annual ethics panel at California State University, Monterey Bay will look at sustainability and the ethics of “green.”

The event, sponsored by the School of Business and the Division of Humanities and Communication, will be held from 3 to 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 12, in the University Center on Sixth Avenue. It’s free and the public is invited.

The topic under discussion is “Greenwashing vs. Sustainability . . . does virtue ethics apply?”

Ever since the first Earth Day celebration more than 30 years ago, some of the world's biggest polluters have invoked “green” images. This deceptive marketing has become known as " greenwashing." Several years ago, the Oxford English Dictionary gave the word a place in its pages, defining greenwashing as "disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image."

The term “virtue ethics” refers to a way of looking at situations that emphasizes moral character rather than rules or consequences, as the key element of ethical thinking. It focuses on determining what a decision process indicates about the moral character of a person, rather than what the outcome of the decision is.

Iris Peppard, executive director of Everyone’s Harvest; Kelli Takikawa of Whole Foods; Kari Murray of CCOF, an organic certification and trade association; and Dr. Suzanne Worcester, professor of Science and Environmental Policy at CSUMB will make presentations as part of the greenwashing panel.

Four students from the School of Business and the Division of Humanities and Communication will field questions on ethical issues.

The ethics panel is held annually to raise awareness of ethical issues in business and social contexts. The objective is to help people understand how to respond to ethical challenges in ways that will contribute to their future success and well-being.

For a map of campus and driving directions, visit For disability accommodations or more information on the panel, call 582-4232.