Greenwashing: Environmentalism and Enron Energy Services

Topics: Environmentalism, Greenwash, Green brands Pages: 30 (11500 words) Published: April 5, 2011
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Greenwashing (a portmanteau of "green" and "whitewash") is a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company's policies or products (such as goods or services) are environmentally friendly. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.[1] Greenwashing may be described as "spin." One example is presenting cost cuts as reductions in use of resources.[2] Contents[hide] * 1 Usage * 2 History * 3 Regulation * 3.1 Australia * 3.2 Canada * 3.3 Norway * 3.4 USA * 4 Examples * 5 Opposition to greenwash * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links| [edit] Usage

Hotel 'greenwashed' laundry card
The term greenwashing was coined by New York environmentalist Jay Westerveld[3][4][5] in a 1986 essay regarding the hotel industry's practice of placing placards in each room promoting reuse of towels ostensibly to "save the environment". Westerveld noted that, in most cases, little or no effort toward waste recycling was being implemented by these institutions, due in part to the lack of cost-cutting affected by such practice. Westerveld opined that the actual objective of this "green campaign" on the part of many hoteliers was, in fact, increased profit. Westerveld hence monitored this and other outwardly environmentally conscientious acts with a greater, underlying purpose of profit increase as greenwashing. The term is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green (that is, operating with consideration for the environment), rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices. This is often portrayed by changing the name or label of a product to evoke the natural environment or nature—for example, putting an image of a forest on a bottle containing harmful chemicals. Environmentalists often use greenwashing to describe the actions of energy companies, which are traditionally the largest polluters.[6] Norway's consumer ombudsman has targeted automakers who claim that their cars are "green", "clean" or "environmentally friendly" with some of the world's strictest advertising guidelines. Consumer Ombudsman official Bente Øverli said: "Cars cannot do anything good for the environment except less damage than others." Manufacturers risk fines if they fail to drop the words. Øverli said she did not know of other countries going so far in cracking down on cars and the environment.[7][8][9][10] In addition, the political term "linguistic detoxification" describes when, through legislation or other government action, the definitions of toxicity for certain substances are changed, or the name of the substance is changed, so that fewer things fall under a particular classification as toxic. An example is the reclassification of some low-level radioactive waste as "beyond regulatory concern", which permits it to be buried in conventional landfills. Another example is the EPA renaming sewage sludge to biosolids, and allowing it to be used as fertilizer, despite the fact that it often contains many hazardous materials including PCBs, dioxin, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and asbestos. The origin of this phrase has been attributed to environmental activist and author Barry Commoner. Several activities designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may be considered merely symbolic greenwash. For example, Earth Hour encourages consumers to switch off electric appliances for 1 hour. This may make people feel good about a minor inconvenience without creating any sustained reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, introduction of a Carbon Emission Trading Scheme may feel good, but may be counterproductive if the cost of carbon is priced too low, or if large emitters are...

References: 5. ^ "ABS-CNB News". 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
13. ^ a b c d e Greenwashing Fact Sheet. March 22, 2001. Retrieved November 14, 2009. from
15. ^ a b c d GUIDES FOR THE USE OF ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING CLAIMS. (n.d.). Received November 14, 2009, from
17. ^ US Senator Patrick Leahy, on the Senate Floor "The Greenwashing of the Bush Anti-Environmental Record on the President 's Earth Day Visits to Maine and Florida" April 26, 2004 Accessed June 29, 2007
21. ^ Hagerman, Eric (2008-10-20). "Little Green Lies—How Companies Erect an Eco-Facade". Wired. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
23. ^ "ASA Adjudications - Suzuki GB plc". ASA. 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
25. ^ "ASA Adjudications Toyota (GB) plc". ASA. 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
27. ^ Miller, Claire Cain. March 8, 2010. "EBay Highlights Conservation as a Benefit of Buying Used." New York Times. B8
* Clegg, Brian. 2009. Eco-logic: Cutting Through the Greenwash: Truth, Lies and Saving the Planet. London: Eden Project. ISBN 978-1-905811-25-0.
* Greer, Jed, and Kenny Bruno. 1996. Greenwash: The Reality Behind Corporate Environmentalism. Penang, Malaysia: Third World Network. ISBN 983-9747-16-9.
* Lubbers, Eveline. 2002. Battling Big Business: Countering Greenwash, Infiltration, and Other Forms of Corporate Bullying. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press. ISBN 1-56751-224-0
* Tokar, Brian
* Dobin, D. (2009). GREENWASHING HARMS ENTIRE MOVEMENT. Lodging Hospitality, 65(14), 42. Retrieved from Business Source Premier database
* (2009)
* Priesnitz, W. (2008). Greenwash: When the green is just veneer. Natural Life, (121), 14-16. Retrieved from GreenFILE database.
Blogpost by haleywalker - May 21, 2010 at 7:03 Add comment
No matter how you frame oil: in a fancy television commercial or newspaper ad featuring different shades of green, a popular song, or a logo of the sun, it will still always be oil
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