Just as “whitewashing” seeks to to cover up unethical activities through denial & creative lies, “greenwashing” seeks to change the image of a company as an environmentally responsible one, without the company actually contributing anything worthwhile towards environment preservation. It is a term coined by a New York environmentalist, Jay Westervelt, in an essay in 1986.
He observed that many hotels would place placards in their rooms encouraging reuse of towels, apparantly, to “save the environment,” though reusing towels has nothing to do with environment conservation. All it does is reduces expenses and increases profits for the hotels.
On its website and advertisements, Chevron uses its slogan, “Human Energy,” to tout its use of innovation and efficiency for its altruistic goal to “power human progress.” With its newest greenwashing campaign, “Will You Join Us?,” Chevron encourages consumers to “carpool more” and “use less energy,” while showcasing all the steps it takes to become more energy efficient. But how much is Chevron investing in alternative clean energy and efficiency? How does this compare to how much it is spending on selling its “Human Energy” image and lobbying for market advantages among Congress members and presidential candidates?
Greenwash campaigns are the brainchild of PR brainstorming sessions, with little or no commitment towards actual energy conservation. The real objective is publicity and increased profits. Don’t be greenwashed by such campaigns!
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