Greenwash: a critical exposé highlights need for action

● By Robin Canniford, University of Melbourne ● Civilisation is doomed. If Guy Pearse’s Greenwash doesn’t convince you of this then you’re a more optimistic person than me. That, or you’ve been led down one of the most dangerous marketing blind-alleys since Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, started working for the cigarette companies. Greenwash exposes the spin, scams and marketing plans through which multinational companies portray themselves as doing their bit to lower carbon emissions. Arranged by product categories: beer, cars, celebrities, food, electricity, home appliances, banks, pets, sports and even sex, Greenwash traces and evaluates companies’ claims to carbon friendliness against the realities of their production, investment, and growth figures. In many cases these measures and the promises made by advertising campaigns don’t add up. The scale of the green branding swindle is mammoth, and there are some unexpected names that crop up; the adventure sports specialist Patagonia for one. This is a company which offers information about supply chains for each of their products, gives 1% of sales revenue to environmental causes and sponsors conservation efforts. Sure, Patagonia may have gone further than most, but Pearse suggests they’re not guiltless and neither are most other companies that claim to be clean. Perhaps the carbon neutrality proffered by certain banks and investment bodies, however, sets the nadir of the green-washing game. Pearse explains that many banks simultaneously provide capital to, and reap investment profits from hugely carbon-intensive industries. Yet by investing in a fleet of hybrid cars or partnering with environmental charities, these businesses simultaneously proffer an eco-friendly image. What is the take-home argument from the cases assembled in Greenwash? It goes something like this. Lets say you want to cut your household carbon footprint. You decide to replace your fossil fuel energy with renewable sources ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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