rn: Earth Day greenwash


Jan Slakov

Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 12:33:11 -0700
From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Corporations Greenwash Us Earth Day And Every Day

Saturday, April 22, 2000 in the Contra Costa Times

Corporations Greenwash Us Earth Day And Every Day

                by Kenny Bruno and Joshua Karliner 
                YOU'VE SEEN the ads: Lush, green forests. Stunning birds of
prey in flight. Humpback  whales breaching. Pristine streams glimmering in the
sunlight. All photographed beautifully and reproduced at great expense. But
something is a little off. Somewhere on the page, sometime on the screen,
you see the tagline that reveals the truth: The ad is for a corporate polluter. 

                Ever since the environmental movement got serious 30 years
ago at the first Earth Day, some of the world's biggest polluters have been
at it around the clock, conjuring up one green illusion after another. This
deceptive marketing has become known as "greenwash."
                The OxfordEnglish Dictionary recently gave the word a place
in its prestigious pages, defining greenwash as "disinformation disseminated
by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public

                Greenwash is a year-round phenomenon, but it is especially
visible around Earth Day. This year's event, the 30th anniversary of our
national ecological festival, focuses on energy and global warming. It will
also bring with it a deluge of deception from corporate America --
particularly the oil, coal and car companies most directly responsible for
the climate problem. 

                According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, just 122
corporations account for more than 80 percent of all global carbon emissions
-- by far the major greenhouse gas. And just five private global oil
corporations -- ExxonMobil, BP Amoco, Shell, Chevron and Texaco -- produce
oil that contributes 10 percent of the world's carbon emissions. 

                The decisions these companies make dwarfs the ability of
ndividuals to make environmental improvements. You and I can turn out the
lights when we leave the house or walk to the store. But we cannot rent a
solar home or buy a hydrogen-powered car. We do not decide whether to invest
billions of dollars to drill for oil on ancestral indigenous lands, or to
take our research, development and exploration dollars and put it into
developing environmentally sound renewable energy. 

                So what are the companies telling us this Earth Day? BP
Amoco has put solar panels on the roofs of some its gas stations, to help
you put "some sun in your life," as you fill your tank with gasoline. Shell
touts its "commitment to the development of renewables" such as solar,
biomass and forestry. ExxonMobil oscillates between denying the existence of
climate change to telling us that technology will solve the problem. Ford is
holding a
ceremony to honor "Heroes of the Planet," is sponsoring the Time for Kids
environmental prizes. 

                What's the reality behind this corporate environmentalism?
BP Amoco, Shell and ExxonMobil all spend less than 1 percent of their budget on
renewable energy, while they continue to invest billions in the damaging
search for oil all over the planet. Ford was recently ranked the second
worst polluter of all auto companies by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
It is also the one whose fuel efficiency has declined the most in the last
10 years since global warming was recognized as a major problem. 

                The lesson of 30 years worth of Earth Days is that beneath
their carefully crafted, superficial green images, most polluting
corporations go on with business as usual unless they are forced to change
by people and governments that organize and legislate to hold them accountable. 

                This Earth Day go ahead and recycle, turn out the lights
when you leave your house and ride your bike to work. But keep a sharp eye
out for greenwash. 

                Bruno and Karliner work with the San Francisco-based
Corporate Watch, www.corpwatch.org. 

                                    Copyright 2000 Contra Costa Times 

Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2000 14:26:29 -0700
From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Earth Day Greenwash Winners

>The Watchdog on the Web                 <http://www.corpwatch.org>
>April 20, 2000
>Corporate Watch Announces the Winners!
>And they are:
>The Grand Prize goes to FORD MOTOR COMPANY for it's massive new green 
>image campaign which is costing as much as it does to roll out a new 
>line of automobile.  In honor of this Award, Ford Chairman William Clay 
>Ford, Jr. will receive a used bicycle for commuting to work.
>1st Runner Up, THE WORLD BANK, for selling its bonds as "socially
>responsible investments."  World Bank President James "Bonds" Wolfensohn 
>will receive a low-interest loan to pay for his upcoming Toxic Tour of 
>World Bank Project sites.
>launching a $250 million multi-year PR campagin.  The group's corporate 
>founders will receive a free copy of the best-selling book, I'm GE Free, 
>You're GE Free.
>3rd Runner Up, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL, For its "Profits and Principles"
>advertising series.  Shell's director, Mark Stuart-Moody will receive a 
>free videotape of Ken-Saro Wiwa's upcoming belated funeral which will 
>take place in Nigeria.
>4th Runners Up CHEVRON and UNOCAL are tied for this honor.  Chevron, for 
>the longevity of its "People Do" campaign, and Unocal for grotesque 
>innovation in the Human Rights equivalent of greenwash.  Chevron 
>Chairman David O'Reilly gets a two hour, private lecture by Nigerian 
>Climate Justice leader Oronto Douglas entitled "What People in the Niger 
>Delta Do."  Unocal CEO Roger Beech receives a Made In Burma backpack. 
>MiB backpacks are specially designed for conscripted porters carrying 
>those heavy loads of military supplies. 
>The Booby Prize goes to EXXON-MOBIL, for not even bothering to cover up 
>its role in global warming.  ExxonMobil Chairman Lee Raymond receives a 
>subscription to PR Watch, so he can study his competitors' techniques in 
>coopting environmental messsages.
>Beyond Street Tactics--Activists Discuss Next Steps
>Updated: 4/18/2000
>With the movement against corporate-driven globalization budding and
>perhaps even beginning to bloom in the aftermath of Seattle and 
>Washington D.C., Corporate Watch asked a number of activists to think 
>beyond the tactical issues of the recent demonstrations and discuss 
>future directions for building grassroots globalization.
>Southern Activists See a Watershed in Global Solidarity
>Updated: 4/17/2000
>If you ask a Mexican farmer, Filipina garment worker, or South African 
>student what structural adjustment is, chances are they can explain IMF 
>and World Bank mandated belt tightening.  But if you survey shopping 
>malls, subways and college campuses across the U.S., few people would 

>have a clue. That is, until this week.
>Also a photo gallery, interviews, headlines, background, loads of links 
>and more on both the World Bank-IMF and the protests against it.