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Examples of Greenwashing Eco-Propaganda

May 1, 2011

Greenwashing (a portmanteau of “green” and “whitewash”) is a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products (such as goods or services) are environmentally friendly. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.

# Greenwashers Consulting is a website exemplifying some of the main tactics and strategies of greenwashing. The documentary Greenwashers (2011 Release) has been made about the company Greenwashers Consulting as well as other examples from BP, Destiny USA, GE, IBM, and many other companies.

# Bush Administration’s Clear Skies Initiative, which some environmentalists have argued actually weakens air pollution laws.

# Many food products have packaging that evokes an environmentally friendly imagery even though there has been no attempt made at lowering the environmental impact of its production.

# In 2009, European McDonald’s changed the colour of their logos from yellow and red to yellow and green.

# An article in Wired magazine alleges that slogans are used to suggest environmentally benign business activity: the Comcast ecobill has the slogan of “PaperLESSisMORE” but Comcast uses large amounts of paper for direct marketing. The Poland Spring ecoshape bottle is touted as “A little natural does a lot of good”, although 80% of beverage containers go to the landfill. The Airbus A380 airliner is described as “A better environment inside and out” even though air travel has a high negative environment cost.

# According to Fred Pearce’s Greenwash column in The Guardian, “clean coal” is the “ultimate climate change oxymoron” — “pure and utter greenwash” he says.
# The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK upheld several complaints against major car manufacturers including Suzuki, SEAT, Toyota and Lexus who made erroneous claims about their vehicles.

# Kimberly Clark’s claim of “Pure and Natural” diapers in green packaging. The product uses organic cotton on the outside but keeps the same petrochemical gel on the inside. Pampers also claims that “Dry Max” diapers reduce landfill waste by reducing the amount of paper fluff in the diaper, which really is a way for Pampers to save money.

# Ubisoft recently announced that it would no longer include paper manuals with their Playstation 3 or XBox 360 games, claiming that this cost-cutting measure was for the purposes of being environmentally friendly.

# The recent explosion of web-based Green business certifications demonstrate a more sophisticated form of greenwashing. Although asking for online “self-assessment” forms to be filed, online Green certification are “blind audits” that are easily cheated. In many cases, it comes down to paying a fee. The deception is made worse because the sham Green certifications are offered to the public as though they were earned. Credible companies like ISO, LEED, and Green Business League require actual audits to be performed prior to certification.

# A 2010 advertising campaign by Chevron was described by the Rainforest Action Network, Amazon Watch and The Yes Men as greenwash. A spoof campaign was launched to pre-empt Chevron’s greenwashing.

# The recent practice of major grocery and retail chains charging money for plastic bags in an effort to minimize environmental damage is an example of greenwashing.

Source: Wikipedia

For a list of hardcore greenwasher-propaganda visit WebEcoistclick here

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