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A comprehensive look at Greenwashing from 1996 to 2021: a bibliometric analysis

Meenal Kaustubh Pendse (School of Management – PG, Dr. Vishwanath Karad MIT World Peace University, Pune , India)
Varsha Shriram Nerlekar (School of Management – PG, Dr. Vishwanath Karad MIT World Peace University, Pune , India)
Pooja Darda (School of Management – PG, Dr. Vishwanath Karad MIT World Peace University, Pune , India)

Journal of Indian Business Research

ISSN: 1755-4195

Article publication date: 8 November 2022

Issue publication date: 3 March 2023




This paper aims to see how scholarly research on Greenwashing practices and behaviour has progressed in the 21st century. There has been a lot of empirical, exploratory and conceptual work done on Green marketing, sustainable marketing and environmental marketing. However, there have been few attempts to produce a comprehensive scientific mapping of Greenwashing as a niche topic. As a result, the study’s goal is to elicit research trends through knowledge structure synthesis.


A Bibliometric Analysis on the topic of Greenwashing practices was undertaken on 355 publications. For this, a scientific search strategy was run on the Scopus database for the period 1996–2021. The study was conducted using Biblioshiny, a Web-based application that is part of the Bibliometric package. Important journals, countries, authors, keywords and affiliations were found using the software’s automated workflow and thematic evolution, citations, co-citations and social network analysis were performed.


The study indicated a gradual increase in the research related to Greenwashing practices. The findings show a relative concentration of more influential work in the said domain amongst a handful of research scholars. Many influential studies have occurred after 2007, and a rally is seen in the studies on Greenwashing till 2020. The authors can say that the rigour of research has started increasing since then. Geographic dispersion of the work has shown that the USA followed by the UK dominates the scholarly inquiry and these countries have major collaboration with European and Asian researchers. The 10 most productive countries were examined, and it was discovered that the USA contributed the majority of the publications, with the UK and China coming in second and third place, respectively, in terms of publication in the said sector. In addition to the domain’s conceptual structure, the study exposes the domain’s social and Intellectual structure. This brings up new possibilities for Greenwashing studies in the future.

Research limitations/implications

The present research is a Bibliometric analysis that is restricted to science mapping, and hence, limitations apply to the said studies. Researchers can use systematic literature review to build a robust conceptual foundation in the future. The Scopus database was used for this study because it has a greater number of high-quality journals in structured forms that are compatible with Bibliometrix software.

Practical implications

Greenwashing practices and behaviour, as well as their links to sustainability, are discussed in this paper. It highlights the most often stated challenges in the discipline and suggests possible research topics. It provides future scholars with information on this discipline’s issues, contexts and collaboration opportunities.

Social implications

The current study can give further directions to the researchers for conducting rigorous research on Greenwashing behaviour and practices and will guide the policymakers to formulate policies in the field of non-sustainable activities, with Greenwashing being one of them.


A lot of work is done by the scientific community in Green marketing research, and a lot of literature is available on Green and Sustainable marketing practices. However, there is still a need felt for more extensive and rigorous research on the evolution of Greenwashing methods. This study makes a significant addition in that it brings together the scattered literature in the field, focuses on important sources, authors and documents, and investigates Greenwashing techniques and behaviour, which is the other side of the sustainable practices coin.



Pendse, M.K., Nerlekar, V.S. and Darda, P. (2023), "A comprehensive look at Greenwashing from 1996 to 2021: a bibliometric analysis", Journal of Indian Business Research, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 157-186.



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