Some examples of polluter greenwash

  • Posted on: 22 December 2009
  • By: admin

One of the big ways that polluters are influencing the public is through “greenwash”. This tactic misleads consumers by exaggerating environmental programs and efforts though advertising, and diverting attention away from polluting operations. It’s no coincidence that the amount of greenwash in the media has drastically increased as consumers have become more concerned about the environment and Congress has taken up climate legislation.

Greenpeace has been investigating greenwash for years and launched to track some of the most egregious and misleading ad campaigns that have been launched in recently.

Take, for example, the efforts by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). This non-profit front group is a wholly owned subsidiary of the U.S. coal industry, and has an apparent objective of making sure the U.S. continues to rely on coal, despite its large contribution to global warming and toxic legacy. Our investigation revealed that ACCCE spent millions advertising “clean coal”, while also lobbying Congress in ways that weakened climate legislation.

Other antics by the coal industry include this ad by Peabody:

Clean Coal. Cool

And this ad by Friends of Coal in West Virginia, which might be hilarious if it wasn’t so deceitful:

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Big oil has been equally guilty of greenwash. Royal Dutch Shell’s current advertising campaign woos the public with commitments to “less CO2”, better “CO2 management” and “sustainable” initiatives. Nowhere in these ads does Shell mention that its expanding tar sands operations produce even more water pollution, dirtier emissions and greater CO2 emissions than its already dirty conventional oil operations.

Shell Ad Campaign

While Shell comes off as being environmentally responsible in all its ads, its no surprise that the company is also a member of the American Petroleum Institute, which puts out deceptive ads about job loss and high energy prices and encourages Congress to vote against climate legislation.

And unfortunately, these are only a few of the numerous greenwash examples that we’ve found. Read all the filthy details here: