It's Not Easy Being Green!
Ahh yes, Kermit, everyone's favorite frog. I'm not sure how pleased devoted Muppets fans would be if they saw the way Kermit is being exploited in this commercial for Ford.
A few weeks ago, I presented an Introduction to Greenwashing which covered some of the basic forms that greenwashing can take and some background information about how to identify it and avoid buying into it. If you haven't read that post yet, I would recommend checking it out before continuing with this one.
I feel that greenwashing is currently a really pertinent and important subject, and therefore I wanted to delve a bit deeper into the inner-workings of this complicated process. I was interested in gathering a variety of perspectives and examples regarding greenwashing, so bear with me as this post may seem like a bit of a strange smorgasbord.
Firstly, I thought that the Rainforest Action Network did a great job of exposing the often hidden agendas behind many large corporations trying to develop a greener image in order to increase their profits. In the following video clip, RAN workers unveil the extremely ironic sponsors of Earth Day 2010. For instance, Earth Day Canada was sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, the lead financier of the tar sands. Sponsors of other Earth Day celebrations included Cargill (responsible for rampant palm oil expantion in Indonesia and Malaysia), Chevron, and PG&E (both enormous polluters). RAN also disclosed that in Ohio, corporations could even go so far as to purchase fake ecological titles for themselves. Check out the video, it's pretty amusing (and informative!):
Media is being using not only as a tool for big companies to present their greenwashed ads and commercials to the general public, but also as a tool for activists to fight back against the greenwashing that is taking place. Chevron has a long history of environmental degradation and a harsh disregard for the wellbeing of native land and communities, so when the company designed a shiny new ad campaign last year known as the "We Agree" campaign, the RAN along with other environmental activist organizations including Amazon Watch and the Yes Men, decided to use Chevron's own campaign tactics against them by staging a spoof to reveal the greenwashing the company was utilizing. The activist groups actually sent out two fake press releases on behalf of Chevron right before the We Agree campaign was set to launch, in addition to creating fake Chevron websites. The plan ended up being a huge success and now serves as a perfect example of how a few simple actions can make a huge difference when it comes to fighting back against greenwashing- you can read the whole story here at We Punked Chevron.
The video below is a spoof on Chevron's We Agree campaign that comically points out the corruption and greenwashing tactics behind the company's actions.
Here's one of Chevron's We Agree campaign ads, followed by an example of one of the spoof ads. Check out a whole gallery of clever spoof ads here. Find out more about the initiative to Change Chevron here.
Although greenwashing may not always be as obvious as the following video, this fake commercial does point out some key popular methods used by many companies to make their ads appear more green. I hope some of these examples of greenwashing may have opened your eyes to the diverse methods used to greenwash. Keep in mind TerraChoice's 7 Sins of Greenwashing which I covered in my previous greenwashing post and good luck identifying and fighting back against greenwash! I will leave you with this video: