Averting your gaze with sustainable, green marketing claims: a critique of luxury commodity production sustainability claims, with evidence from the diamond industry

Michael J. Lynch*, Michael A. Long, Paul B. Stretesky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The adverse impacts of capitalism on the global ecosystem are well-identified, and have created consumer interest in ecologically friendly commodities. One corporate response to this situation has been the development of green marketing strategies designed to convince consumers that products are ecologically sustainable and/or less ecologically harmful. One strategies suggests that luxury commodities are ecologically sustainable due to their durability and/or longevity. That argument ignores empirical assessments of the ecological impacts of luxury commodity production. To illustrate this point, we examine the use of green labeling claims within the context of capitalism. As an empirical example, we focus on sustainability claims constructed around luxury diamonds, and estimate the ecological harms of mining a large diamond in carbon equivalent terms. We also examine related production claims linked to sustainable supply chain certification. In our discussion, we draw from arguments in green criminology to suggest that diamond mining could be viewed as a crime of ecocide, and should be discouraged through influence campaigns and perhaps legal restrictions on diamond mining.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-293
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Spectrum
Volume42
Issue number4-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2022

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