Since sustainability has become such a desired trait, some companies have tried to cut corners and only seem like they are reducing carbon footprints and promoting better energy use. In reality, they may be making easy changes simply to get the credit without actually doing the work of true reuse.

Not only does this minimize the positive effect to the environment, it can cause other companies and customers have a lower opinion of the business. As such, companies that “greenwash” could end up misrepresenting the realities of green office solutions as a whole.

One recent study attempted to find the consequences of misrepresenting a business’ “green” status. Washington State University researchers assessed thousands of consumers to judge whether suspecting ulterior motives would impact consumer opinion of a hotel’s green policies.

While consumers might not immediately abandon greenwashed businesses, Christina Geng-qing Chi, one of the researchers behind the project, emphasized the importance of LEED certification as a major sign of official green approval.

“Having a comprehensive green program, certifications by independent and widely accepted green agencies and communicating the message to customers are key strategies hotels can use to appear more credible in the eyes of consumers,” Chi said in a press release. “It is imperative that hotels go the extra mile in integrating environmentally friendly practices to develop credibility in consumers’ minds,” she added.

In the workplace, following proper reuse guidelines is crucial for compliance and achieving a better level of environmental awareness. Green recycling experts are a resource for determining if companies have an optimal approach to keeping on budget.