Greenwash: Big Brands and Carbon Scams
Pearse Guy, Black Inc.
In the old days we used to mix up lime to make whitewash and smarten up the back shed and chooks house.
Guy Pearse uses the term “green wash” to describe the rash of current attempts to delude us into believing businesses and organisations are tidying up their activities to reduce their carbon footprint.
In alphabetical order, starting with the big financial institutions under “Banks” through to the confectioners and chocolate industry under “Sweet Treats”, he details how large well-known companies in different categories have all attempted through their advertising to delude us into believing they have taken seriously the threat to the environment from their particular activities.
Typical is the commercial by Columbian Cafe “featuring Juan Valdez, who’s up at daybreak riding his trusty donkey to tend the coffee trees and smell the beans”.
BP was the industry leader in pretending to be other than an oil company. “There were even ads juxtaposing the message Beyond Petroleum with the words, ‘We always use 100 per cent fair trade certified coffee beans.’”
The book is thoroughly researched and the proposals extensively documented.
Pearse will not be without his critics. “These greenwashing tools don’t run themselves, however. They require an army of carbon accountants, energy-efficient consultants, polling companies … and PR flacks.”
He raises serious issues and sees through the sham and pretence.