Great moments in greenwashing
Chevron launches its “People Do” campaign, highlighting “the company’s efforts to protect the environment near its facilities.” Chevron’s products continue polluting the environment both near and far from its facilities from 1985 and on past 2001, when the campaign closes.
Mobil develops and begins aggressively marketing “biodegradable” garbage bags. “Degrading” in this case actually refers to breaking up into many, smaller pieces of plastic, and to do so the bags need to be left out in the sun, rather than buried under tons of other garbage bags (as seems their more likely fate).
In a brilliant reversal of greenwashing that might be called “greenfilthing,” the head of the Center For Global Food Issues, a pro-presticide, pro-irradiation pseudo-think tank partially funded by agribusiness giant Monsanto, writes that CDC data indicates “people who eat organic and natural foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli.” The head of the food-borne illnesses branch of the CDC quickly repudiates the statement as false.
April: Competitive Enterprise Institute, a pro-business lobby that gets much of its funding from the oil industry, produces two 60-second TV ads promoting the virtues of CO2 that say in part, “People breathe it out. Plants breathe it in…They call it pollution; we call it life.” The ads are excoriated in the press and canceled after ten days.
July: Proving you can sometimes count on the press to do your greenwashing for you, CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo calls Ford CEO William Clay Ford a “true environmentalist” during a live interview. In the previous three years, Ford abandoned a pledge to increase its SUVs’ mileage and sued California to keep it from limiting greenhouse gasses. Ford is based in Michigan.
Environmental marketing firm TerraChoice finds that 1017 of 1018 environmental claims on products it purchased “fail to live up fully to their green boasts.”
Monsanto supports public radio with ads calling itself “sustainable.”
Find out more about greenwashing here.
What are the most heinous examples you’ve seen?
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