The Dirty History of Corporate Greenwashing

Bruce Watson with the Guardian takes a look back at the evolution of greenwashing in a recent piece. He looks back to when the term emerged in the 1980s, and spotlights some of the biggest “hit” commercials offered by major corporations attempting to appear “green”.

The bottled water industry, Sunoco and Chevron all come under the microscope in Watson’s piece. Here is an excerpt:

The People Do campaign also ignored Chevron’s spotty environmental record: while it was running the ads, it was also violating the clean air act, the clean water act and spilling oil into wildlife refuges. But Chevron was far from the only company digging deep into the greenwashing cesspool. In 1989, chemical company DuPont announced its new double-hulled oil tankers with ads featuring marine animals clapping their flippers and wings in chorus to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. However, as environmental nonprofit Friends of the Earth pointed out in its report Hold the Applause, the company was the single largest corporate polluter in the US.

Other corporate claims were equally outrageous: forestry giant Weyerhaeuser ran ads claiming that it was “serious” about caring for fish – even as it was cutting down trees in some of its forests and destabilizing salmon habitats.

Read the full article here. 

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