GREENWASHING

GREENWASHING

Ensure your company isn't damaging customers' trust by greenwashing – making false claims that your company or products are environmentally friendly.

•  Greenwashing is when a company purports to be environmentally conscious for marketing purposes but actually isn't making any notable sustainability efforts. •  Companies can greenwash even when they have good intentions. •  As a result of greenwashing, most American consumers do not believe company claims about their sustainability practices.

You've probably heard of whitewashing at least once in the corporate world. Whitewashing is when an organization covers up or glosses over scandalous information by presenting a biased representation of the facts. But greenwashing isn't nearly as well known. Greenwashing is when an organization spends more time and money on marketing itself as environmentally friendly than on actually minimizing its environmental impact. It's a deceitful marketing gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands.

What is greenwashing?

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Exxon The Road Not Taken

09/13/22  
This nine-part history of Exxon’s engagement with the emerging science of climate change is the result of an eight months-long investigation conducted in 2015. The stories span four decades, and are based on primary sources,…

Gensler sees limit to SEC rule on carbon emissions disclosure

By Jim Tyson  Photo: David McNew via Getty Images   06/15/22  
The Securities and Exchange Commission will not require all publicly traded companies to disclose the carbon emissions from their vendors, suppliers and other third parties across their supply chains, but will limit the mandate to…

Why an energy crisis and $5 gas aren’t spurring a green revolution

By Evan Halper  Photo: George Rose/Getty Images   06/14/22  
As high prices move consumers to rethink their attachment to oil and gas, America is struggling to meet the moment.

House Democrats probe PR industry’s role in advertising for Big Oil

By Maxine Joselow and Others  Photo: Andrew Harnik , Reuters   06/13/22  
Good morning and welcome to The Climate 202! Today we're worried about a shortage of Sriracha because of extreme droughts in Mexico, where the hot-sauce company sources its chile peppers. One could say it's a…

Forbes Global 2000 Firms Judged ‘Alarmingly Weak’ On Climate Plans

By David Vetter   06/13/22  
Just a third of firms on the Forbes Global 2000 list of publicly traded companies have net zero emissions targets, and almost two thirds of those pledges fall far short on necessary detail, leaving major…

How Fashion Giants Recast Plastic as Good for the Planet

By Hiroko Tabuchi  Photo: Georgie Hunter , Getty Images   06/12/22  
An explosion in the use of inexpensive, petroleum-based materials has transformed the fashion industry, aided by the successful rebranding of synthetic materials like plastic leather (once less flatteringly referred to as “pleather”) into hip alternatives…

Top Biden aide prods big tech to crack down on climate misinformation

By Ben Geman  Photo: Axios   06/09/22  
Gina McCarthy, President Biden's top domestic climate adviser, said tech companies should do more to prevent the spread of inaccurate information about climate change and clean energy.

‘Deny, Deceive, Delay’: How ‘Evolving’ Disinformation Tactics Stymie Climate Action

By Jessica Corbett  Photo: Ronen Tivony/Getty Images   06/09/22  
Pushing for policies requiring Big Tech "to be transparent and accountable about the harms their products create," one campaigner said that "we should not continue this endless game of climate denial whack-a-mole."

New research points to bad math behind corporate renewable energy claims

By Justine Calma  Photo: Tony Avelar , Getty Images   06/09/22  
The problem stems from companies’ reliance on Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to back up their green claims. A company receives a REC by paying to support renewable energy projects around the world. When brands say…

Oil and gas companies underreported methane leaks, new study shows

By Steven Mufson  Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar , Bloomberg News   06/08/22  
Big oil and gas companies have internal data showing that their methane emissions in the vast Permian Basin “are likely significantly higher than official data” reported to the Environmental Protection Agency, says a new report…

How a Republican effort punishes companies for climate action

By David Gelles and Hiroko Tabuchi  Photo: Kieran Dodds for The New York Times   05/27/22  
Legislators and their allies are running an aggressive campaign that uses public money and the law to pressure businesses they say are pushing “woke” causes.

U.S. SEC unveils rules to ensure ESG funds follow through on investments

By Katanga Johnson & Ross Kerber  Photo: Andrew Kelly , Reuters   05/26/22  
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday proposed a pair of rule changes aimed at stamping out unfounded claims by funds on their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) credentials, and enforcing more…
CNN

Big Oil, flush with cash, is failing on climate pledges

By Allison Morrow   05/25/22  
In the peak of 2020 lockdowns, giant oil companies had a wake-up call. Demand had cratered, sapping profits, and it wasn't clear when it would end. That gave environmentally minded investors an in. The pitch:…

Big Fossil’s disaster capitalist response to Russia-Ukraine

By Amy Westervelt  Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images   05/25/22  
The industry moved quickly to capture the narrative, going from disinformation blitz to policy wins within a matter of weeks.

A feud over fossil fuel money

By Manuela Andreoni   05/24/22  
At Stanford University, the question is ringing loud. This month, hundreds of students, faculty members and alumni, in an open letter, called on the university’s new climate school to decline funding from fossil fuel companies.

Headline pledges are often ambiguous and emission reduction commitments are limited

Thomas Day & Others   05/23/22  
Companies around the world are increasing alert to the climate emergency. They face calls from a growing range of stakeholders

HSBC suspends head of responsible investing who called climate warnings ‘shrill’

By Kalyeena Makortoff  Photo: Joe Raedle , Getty Images   05/22/22  
HSBC has suspended a senior banker after he referred to climate crisis warnings as “unsubstantiated” and “shrill” during a conference speech that has since been denounced by the lender’s chief executive. Stuart Kirk, who has…

Climate Forward

By Manuela Andreoni  Photo: Etienne Laurent   05/20/22  
First, let’s talk about greenwashing — a blanket term to describe false or unproven claims in a company’s environmental records. It’s a big problem. The New Climate Institute, a research organization based in Germany, recently…

Why do we swallow what big oil and the green movement tell us?

By Thomas L. Friedman  Photo: Michael Hanschke/Reuters   05/17/22  
It has long been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. By that definition, we’re the ones detached from reality if we…

Oil Giants Sell Dirty Wells to Buyers With Looser Climate Goals, Study Finds

By Hiroku Tabuchi  Photo: Sunday Alamba , Associated Press   05/10/22  
When Royal Dutch Shell sold off its stake in the Umuechem oil field in Nigeria last year, it was, on paper, a step forward for the company’s climate ambitions: Shell could clean up its holdings,…

Brazil is gaslighting its way to a climate misinformation catastrophe

By Robert Muggah and Mac Margolis  Photo: Andre Penner , AP   05/09/22  
Brazilians know all about fake news. Digital hucksters have attacked the integrity of Brazil’s electronic voting system, baselessly accused adversaries of “teaching” homosexuality in the classroom and promoted faith-based covid-19 treatments, all with a nod…

Climate sceptic thinktank received funding from fossil fuel interests

By Helena Horton and Adam Bychawski  Photo: Christopher Thomond   05/04/22  
An influential thinktank that has led the backlash against the government’s net zero policy has received funding from groups with oil and gas interests, according to tax documents seen by the Guardian and OpenDemocracy.

‘Existential Threat’: Indigenous Leaders Urge Citigroup to Stop Backing Amazon Oil

By Rachel Sherrington  Photo: Geoff Gallice   04/28/22  
Indigenous leaders have called on Citigroup to stop financing oil and gas projects in the Amazon, saying the bank’s activities contradict its climate pledges by putting the threatened ecosystem at greater risk.

In the dark: how social media companies’ climate disinformation problem is hidden from the public

Photo: Sascha Steinbach , Rex   04/25/22  
For decades, the fossil fuel industry has poured millions of dollars into spreading climate disinformation 1 online and offline to drive public polarization and stall action on the climate crisis. That’s why the latest UN…

TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook Are Letting Climate Denial Run Rampant: Report

By Lauren Leffer  Photo: Constantine Johnny   04/22/22  
Fossil fuel companies have known about climate change since 1966, and for almost as long, they’ve been buying TV, radio and newspaper ads trying to make sure you don’t. Decades later, lies about climate change…

Greenwashing 101: How to decipher corporate claims about climate

By Douglas MacMillan  Photo: Sam Hall/Bloomberg News   04/21/22  
Companies are eager to tout their environmental progress on Earth Day. Here are five tips for investigating whether their claims tell the full story.

Brazilian Meat Giant JBS a Bigger Emitter Than Italy, Study Estimates

By Michaela Herrmann  Photo: Pete Reynolds   04/21/22  
Greenhouse gas emissions produced by JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, have surged more than 50 percent in the past five years as the company has acquired new poultry and livestock units – meaning it…

Press release: edgi releases report on carbon emissions by us corporations

By EDGI Comms   04/20/22  
Today, the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) releases its report, Owning Up: A Tool to Measure US Carbon Emissions by Corporations. The report analyzes greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions tracked by the U.S. Environmental Protection…

Breaking down climate misinformation with amy westervelt and john cook

04/15/22  
Fossil fuel companies have spent decades casting doubt in public about climate facts that their own scientists validated in internal company research. These tactics have included a concerted effort to recast political speech, banned and…

They derailed climate action for a decade. And bragged about it.

By Kate Yoder   04/15/22  
In 1989, just as leaders around the world were starting to think seriously about tackling global warming, the National Association of Manufacturers assembled a group of corporations — utilities, oil companies, automakers, and more —…

Will Technology Solve The Sustainability Challenge?

By Felicia Jackson  Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images   04/13/22  
There is no question that sustainability is a core issue for business today, driven by concern about the growing impact of climate-induced extreme weather, as well as an increase in regulatory disclosure demands. I

Documents show polluting industries mobilized to block climate action

By Amy Westervelt  Photo: David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images   04/12/22  
Of the primary reports that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes every four to six years, the mitigation report, focused on what can be done and what’s holding climate action back, only gets more…

Latest IPCC Reports Underscore Threat of Climate Disinformation

By Michael Khoo  Photo: Shutterstock   04/04/22  
The latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirm that “climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people,” urging that if we…

Finance and Climate Change

03/31/22  
A comprehensive assessment of the world's 30 largest listed financial institutions shows a clear disconnect between the concrete short-term targets and actions needed to address the climate emergency and the limited, long-term targets currently being…

Canadian ex-minister Catherine McKenna named to head UN greenwash watchdog

By Joe Lo  Photo: Benedikt Von Loebell   03/31/22  
Within twelve months, the 16-member group is to publish recommendations on how to judge net zero commitments and translate them into national and international regulations.
BBC

Facebook drives sceptics towards climate denial

By Merlyn Thomas   03/30/22  
A report released Wednesday by Global Witness found Facebook's algorithm amplified doubts rather than nudging people towards reliable information. Facebook says its systems are "designed to reduce misinformation". Researchers created two users - climate sceptic…

Facebook paid GOP firm to malign TikTok

By Taylor Lorenz and Drew Harwell  Photo: Mike Blake   03/30/22  
Facebook parent company Meta is paying one of the biggest Republican consulting firms in the country to orchestrate a nationwide campaign seeking to turn the public against TikTok.

Banks promised climate action. Where is it?

By Emily Pontecorvo  Photo: Nicolas Economou/Getty Images   03/25/22  
A flurry of climate pledges from financial institutions in recent years has not been followed by meaningful action, according to a report from the corporate accountability nonprofit InfluenceMap published on Friday.

New SEC climate rule leaves progressives wanting more

By Rachel Frazin and Saul Elbein   03/23/22  
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took a long-sought step this week by proposing to require that publicly traded companies disclose their direct and indirect climate change contributions, but advocates are pointing to loopholes they…

American companies can’t sugarcoat their carbon pollution anymore

Robinson Meyer  Photo: Davidy Ryder / Getty   03/23/22  
On Monday, the SEC announced that it would add another layer to this set of essential disclosures, requiring companies to also release information about their climate risks. Starting next fiscal year, the country’s largest public…

This Timber Company Sold Millions of Dollars of Useless Carbon Offsets

By Ben Elgin  Photo: Brian Lesteberg/Bloomberg Green   03/17/22  
Jim Hourdequin is one of the planet’s biggest sellers of carbon offsets—the widely used instruments that are supposed to act as a balm for the rapidly overheating climate. His company earned $53 million from these…

Texas threatens to hit ESG firms over fossil fuel ‘boycott’

By Adam Aton  Photo: Eric Gay/AP Photo   03/17/22  
Texas is wrestling with how to hit back against Wall Street’s green posture. The state’s top financial official is starting to inch toward action against some firms, after months of Texas Republicans bashing financial giants…

‘Sustainable’ funds are no more green than traditional products, study finds

03/17/22  
Clarity AI, a sustainability data technology platform part-owned by BlackRock, analysed 31,000 funds to assess how they perform against a new European Union classification system that defines a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities. Its…

Greenwashing Is Increasingly Making ESG Moot

By Tim Quinson  Photo: Patrick T. Fallon   03/16/22  
For years now, managers of big funds touting their supposed focus on the environment, social issues and corporate governance have been faulted for holding shares of fossil-fuel purveyors (including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.),…

World’s biggest money manager BlackRock does u-turn on climate commitments?

By Shoma Bhattacharjee   03/09/22  
BlackRock had recently become one of the latest financial institutions to call for sustainable investment. The company, the world’s biggest multinational investment management company with over $10 trillion in assets that it manages, had published…

What’s Driving Insurers to Prioritize ESG Investments?

By Jonathan McGoran   02/23/22  
A recent survey of 280 decision makers at U.S.-based life/annuity and P&C insurers shows increased attention and commitment to aligning investments with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.
NPR

Major oil companies aren’t following through on climate change promises

By Mary Louise Kelly   02/18/22  
NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with Gregory Trencher, a co-author of a report that shows, despite pledges, BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Shell aren't making changes needed to transition to clean energy.

Green washing: World’s biggest companies overstating climate change action, says study

By CNBCTV18.com   02/07/22  
Some of the world’s biggest companies that have made commitments to reduce their carbon emissions are vastly overstating their progress and failing to meet their own goals, a new study has stated. Companies like Google,…

What do the Tobacco-Loving Heartland Institute, Bill Cosby, Petrostates, and Racists Have in Common?

By Daily Kos Staff   01/25/22  
Because last week, a “P.S.” note at the bottom of a Heartland Institute email to subscribers explained they sent “two policy experts to New Hampshire this week to testify in favor of a proposed bill…

Dirty greenwashing: watchdog targets fashion brands over misleading claims

By Sarah Butler   01/14/22  
Fashion brands that make misleading claims about their environmental credentials face a crackdown by the competition watchdog as it targets greenwashing.