To greenwash can be described as an act that misleads or conceals. If an organisation has abused the environment in any way that is harmful and it then puts out misleading information to the contrary, or hides the truth in any way, it can be partaking in an act of greenwashing. Equally, if an organisation is seen as being insincere in its concem for the environment then it will be seen as being involved in greenwashing.
This is the equivalent of political 'spin', especially when green 'credentials' are used for another purpose, typically cost reduction or a profit hike. Often money is spent on marketing communications tools such as advertising or packaging/labelling and used to give the impression that an organisation, product or brand is good to the environment.
Greenwash (sometimes hogwash or environmental whitewash) has bean described as being socially and environmentally destructive in the business arena, being brought in by organisations posing as friends of the environment but also leaders in the eradication of starvation and poverty. The term 'bluewash' has been coined to describe the act of allowing large and rich corporations, who do nothing new, to wrap themselves in the blue flag of the United Nations in order to be seen as being a humanitarien world citizen.