Lesson plan overview

With this ESL lesson plan students learn about greenwashing – a common practice companies use to appear more sustainable than they actually are. Students will learn common buzzwords, look at greenwashing examples and discuss ways consumers can avoid greenwashing. You can combine it with the worksheet Phrasal verbs: marketing and advertising”

The lesson begins with a few questions about students’ consumer behaviour. After they have answered, they move on to the second activity, which features statistics about the changing consumers habits. Students talk about the ways companies need to adapt to the changes

Vocabulary: There are 2 vocabulary tasks included in the lesson. In the first one, students look at a word cloud including typical sustainability and greenwashing adjectives (eco-friendly, net-zero, biodegradable etc.). They discuss the meanings of the words and answer a couple of questions. In the second vocabulary activity, students look at 4 headlines and match the underlined words to their definitions (pledge, back up, mislead).

Listening: Before watching the video, students look at the the term “greenwashing” and work out its meaning. The first video for the lesson “Greenwashing: can we trust eco-credentials?” mentions different examples of greenwashing, which students need to write down.

Speaking and listening: Students work in groups and brainstorm ways we as consumers can avoid greenwashing. Next, they watch the second video in this lesson: “How to avoid greenwashing” and write down the tips given. They discuss the ideas and their personal experience.

The last activity is a speaking activity: Students choose an industry and work in small groups to think of ways businesses in that industry can become more sustainable.

Homework: 3 research questions are given to encourage students to develop the topic further, expand on the ideas seen in class and see the vocabulary from this lesson in different contexts.

The set of conversation cards is also a great way to revise the vocabulary from this lesson in the next class or have a conversation class dedicated to the topic of greenwashing.

This lesson will work great in combination with the following lessons: “Corporate social responsibility” and “Phrasal verbs: the environment

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

1. eco-friendly  2. exaggerate  3.customers  5. encourage   6. habits

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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