Social Washing by Condo Developers

What is social washing?

Social washing, or Greenwashing is when companies try to cover up their negative environmental impacts by promoting themselves as eco-friendly with misleading advertising campaigns and branding.

On Mauii, the Affordable Workforce Housing system is being used by developers as a form of “Social Washing” to make their business more socially palatable. These are still for-profit condo developments. Unfortunately, more of these units will be sold to newcomers than locals. An estimated 28 percent will be sold to locals, and the rest to newcomers. 

Affordable and workforce is being fast-tracked: We have seen a rapin growth in affordable housing projects, with 36 affordable housing projects being identified and fast-tracked by county. These developments are getting priority with cutting thru red tape, having restrictions removed, and getting fees waived. Developers of Affordable and workforce units are getting special concessions and preferential treatment. Unfortunately, they are allowed to drop many of the usual requirements that are intended to help improve a neighborhood and offset the impacts of the projects. 

Qualification is too easy for newcomers: Unfortunately for local families that have been waiting decades for an affordable home, anyone who “lives” here can qualify, no matter how long they have been here.  So these homes are up for grabs. and are getting snapped up by better-qualified newcomers.  For example, any mainland family can nominate a family member to qualify for an affordable home on Maui. The only qualification is to be a resident with no time restriction. They can nominate a person with no prior or no recent real estate holdings. But the family can help them qualify for the mortgage, downpayments, etc. This is bad news for local families that will have difficulty competing with mainlanders with better credit scores. 

Here is what is happening to affordable and workforce housing projects:

Hale Kaiola Project: According to testimony given to the AHC, only 19 out of 40 units were sold to Local Families. The majority going to non-local families. The majority of local families do not qualify for a mortgage, and the majority of local families waiting for affordable homes are earning under the minimum 80% AMI, and most are making under 60% AMI.  

Waipuilani Hale: only 30 percent of units to be sold at or below 95,000 AMI 70 percent to be sold above AMI up to %140 AMI. This is driving home ownership upward into the hands of the Upper Middle-income bracket (upper middle classes). This takes homeownership away from the lower-income earners (lower classes).   

 


Social washing refers to statements or policies that make a company appear more socially responsible than it actually is. https://www.callan.com/blog-archive/social-washing-esg/

Social washing is quite similar to greenwashing, except for the fact that corporations are wrongfully trying to market themselves as socially conscious. In reality, they don’t do anything beyond lip service to support the cause espoused by them in the social washing campaigns.

https://www.abtmarkets.com/abt-blog/green-blue-pink-and-social-corporate-washing#:~:text=Social%20washing%20is%20quite%20similar,in%20the%20social%20washing%20campaigns.

Social washing, or Greenwashing is when companies try to cover up their negative environmental impacts by promoting themselves as eco-friendly with misleading advertising campaigns and branding. Dec 29, 2021

https://www.esgthereport.com/what-is-social-washing/