Decoupling is when organisations claim to fulfill stakeholders’ expectations for action on sustainability, without actually making any changes in what they do in practice. Decoupling includes firms joining voluntary sustainability initiatives established by NGOs to gain credibility by association, the promotion of empty green claims and policies when such commitments are unable to be implemented, and the “sin of fibbing,” which is making false claims and statements.
Attention deflection is when organisations hide unsustainable practices from stakeholder attention, prepare selective and inaccurate disclosures, make incomplete comparisons with other products and services, and use vague and irrelevant statements. Attention deflection also includes the deployment of misleading texts and/or imagery. At the extreme, companies can also undertake falsifications to gain accreditations.