Greenwashing, Why Pay Attention
Greenwashing is a form of marketing where corporations misuse green marketing to mislead consumers and hypocritically sell “environmental-friendly” products or services.
Despite greenwashing being against the law, countless corporations are still participating in greenwashing.
Corporations speculated or guilty of greenwashing include Fiji, Amazon, ExxonMobil, IKEA, BP, H&M, and countless more.
In 2009, Fiji Water was accused and sued for misleading the public and greenwashing. Fiji Water claimed they were carbon-negative since 2008 and marketed their brand with the claim, but were soon proven false. Disappointingly, Fiji Water stated in a press release that a carbon-negative environment will not be realized until 2037, 29 years later than the previously claimed year.
Ever since the 1970s and 1980s, Exxon knew well about the causes and effects of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere but decided to keep the information and data hidden and manipulated the public. Recently, Exxon stated its goal to produce 10,000 barrels of algae-based biofuel a day by 2025. The goal sounds decent enough until you realize that it is only 0.2% of the corporation’s current refinery capacity, which Exxon failed to mention. Ironically enough, Exxon recently stated that an estimated total of 1 million barrels of oil and gas will be produced per day in the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico – 5 times the production rate today.
In December 2019, a complaint was apposed against BP, an oil and gas company. BP misled ad campaigns that claimed to focus on low-carbon energy products. Ironically to the “push” of the environmental advances, more than 96% of BP’s annual spending is on oil and gas. In the early 2000s, BP branded themselves as “Beyond Petroleum”, when their products still were and are predominately oil and gas. In the 2000s, BP created the term “carbon footprint” and created an ad campaign to ask people if they knew their carbon footprint. BP publicly shamed and guilt-tripped people for their high carbon footprint. Ironically, BP was already creating a large carbon footprint of their own beforehand.
Too little action and justice are taken when it comes to corporations causing obvious greenwashing.
Some corporations have been brought to justice for misleading the public and greenwashing, but it is not enough. More awareness and proposals to the U.S. Judicial system must be appraised to fight greenwashing and corporations’ deception.
Between 2020 and 2021, a class-action lawsuit was proposed against Tide, a laundry detergent brand manufactured and marketed by Proctor & Gamble. Proctor & Gamble claims that its detergent is 100% plant-based, but in reality, it is only 75% plant-based. Proctor & Gamble mislead the public to believe they produce environment-friendly products.
Thankfully, there is still some hope. There are countless protests and environmentalists to fight for justice against greenwashing. As these protests and awareness grow, greenwashing will ease and become demolished. It is recommended to research and become aware of the causes and effects of greenwashing.
Pro-environmental advocacy groups are encouraging the Biden administration to bring justice to companies accused of greenwashing since the Biden administration is focusing on climate change.
There are still necessary circumstances to put in place to fight greenwashing and climate change.