greenwashing

BP's First Global Advertising Campaign Since Deepwater Horizon Accused of Being 'Deceptive and Hypocritical'

Read time: 7 mins
Baby featured in a BP ad

Nearly a decade after being held responsible for the largest marine oil spill in history, BP’s first global advertising campaign in ten years has been denounced as “deceptive and hypocritical”.

The global advertising campaign called “we see possibilities everywhere” aims to showcase BP’s efforts to embrace clean energy and includes a series of short videos profiling the British oil giant’s plan to increase its energy production while lowering its emissions.

'Green is Great': Coal, Oil, and Greenwash at the UN Climate Talks

Read time: 5 mins
Coal soap at Katowice pavilion at COP24

We were told to meet by the glowing jellyfish. Pascoe Sabido was holding it aloft, its plastic tentacles tangling, as journalists and campaigners closed in around him. A campaigner for Corporate Europe Observatory, he had promised us a “Toxic Tour” of COP24, a chance to see the influence of energy companies lurking behind the green veneer of the countries gathered here to tackle climate change.

Except, in some cases, the veneer was wearing thin — or, in Poland’s case — had rubbed off entirely. The tour began next to the logos of the conference’s sponsors projected onto the wall. It’s currently advertising LOTOS Oil, a Polish company that operates mainly in Norway. Other sponsors include JSW, a coal company, and PZU, the largest insurer of the Polish coal industry.

How Shell Greenwashed its Image as Internal Documents Warned of Fossil Fuels' Contribution to Climate Change

Read time: 9 mins
Shell clean air advert

Shell knew about the relationship between burning fossil fuels and climate change as early as the 1980s. So what did the company decide to do about it? Stop burning fossil fuels?

No. It changed its advertising strategy.

A tranche of documents uncovered last week by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent published on Climate Files, a project of the Climate Investigations Center, revealed that Shell knew about the danger its products posed to the climate decades ago. The company has continued to double-down on fossil fuel investment since the turn of the century despite this knowledge.

But in the wake of a bribery scandal in Nigeria that resulted in two dozen employees being fired, the company was concerned enough about its dirty image to work out a new PR strategy.

BP Greenwashes Image By Pushing 'Blatant Advertising' on Schoolchildren

Read time: 7 mins
Cartoon image from a BP school resource

The methods may change from country to country, but it’s clear that fossil fuel companies are desperate to push their message onto kids.

US companies promote fossil fuels in schools through a weirdly sinister cast of characters including Petro Pete and Sammy Shale. And now BP has launched a new set of resources for primary school kids in the UK.

The “Science Explorers” series provides free online resources for children aged between 5 and 11 years old, and includes a few for investigating why the climate is changing. The resources are tuned towards one big question: “Why are living things the way they are?”

Shell is an Award-Winning Global Greenwasher Now

Read time: 4 mins
Make the Future screenshot

Oil giant Shell won the ‘Corporate Influencer’ gong at the 2017 World Media Awards.

The winning campaign, called “Best Day of My Life”, featured a music video featuring ‘energy innovations’ that Shell is supporting, and it went viral shortly after its release.

Shell were understandably smug about their award. Last autumn, the “Best Day of My Life” video went viral in the first week with over 20 million views and is now up to almost 50 million.

Are the COP21 Corporate Sponsors as Green as They Say They Are?

Read time: 3 mins

Some corporate sponsors of the COP21 Paris climate talks are failing to properly report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a new report reveals.

The Paris climate conference is sponsored by over 60 companies including big polluters EDF, Engie and BNP Paribas. And while countries continue to negotiate a deal on tackling climate change, what have these corporate sponsors brought to the table?

A new study published this week by French social research group BASIC and the Multinationals Observatory shows that very few of the COP21 sponsors are declaring their GHG emissions in a transparent way.

Interesting Events You Won’t Want to Miss At The Paris COP21 Climate Conference

Read time: 5 mins

The time has finally arrived. We're on the Eurostar heading to Paris for the COP21 climate conference kick-off.

On Monday, the world is meeting in Paris to (hopefully) agree a deal that will curb our carbon emissions and avert catastrophic climate change.

The stakes are high. Over the course of just two weeks, we’ll see leaders doing backroom negotiations, and countries from every corner of our planet will be working hard to have their voice heard. Meanwhile, others – be it green NGOs or climate deniers – will be doing their best to influence the decisions.

This is why DeSmog UK has put together a quick guide highlighting some on-the-ground events we're hoping to cover. You won’t want to miss it.

Greenwashing the Tar Sands, Part 3: Wherein money trumps fact every time

Read time: 6 mins

This is last installment of a three-part series on greenwashing and the tar sands. Be sure to read Part 1, A Short History of Greenwashing the Tar Sands, and Part 2, Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

Recently, Canadian Oil Sands Chief Executive Officer Marcel Coutu explained to Bloomberg why he and other big shot oil executives have been lobbying U.S. politicians so hard for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would ferry more than 800,000 barrels of tar sands crude to the Gulf Coast. Coutu had participated in a Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) lobbying junket in February, and another trip is being planned for this month.

The first reason is money. The Keystone XL pipeline is a vital component of the tar sands industry’s plans. Without it, it will be hard for Big Oil to double production of tar sands crude by 2020. With no way to transport the extra crude to markets in the U.S. and beyond, there would be no point in spending all that money to turn bitumen into a crude form of oil. This, Coutu said, has had a chilling effect on investment and share prices.

Canadian Oil Sands shares have risen just two per cent this year, while Cenovus’ have fallen seven percent and Imperial Oil’s are down 6.2 percent. Keystone XL, says Todd Kepler, a Calgary-based oil and gas analyst at Cormark Securities, would increase share prices for oil producers by as much as 20 per cent.

That's a big deal worth millions of dollars.

A Short History of Greenwashing the Tar Sands, Part 1

Read time: 6 mins

This is Part One of a three-part series on the political greenwashing of the tar sands in Canada.

When I hatched the idea to write a book about the use of spin and propaganda in the battle over the tar sands, a close friend of mine suggested I avoid the term “tar sands.” His logic was simple: using this term, which has become a pejorative, would turn some people off, people who might benefit, he said, from reading my book.

His recommendation was meant to be helpful, but it speaks to the power of manipulating language to make people believe something appears to be something that it is not. “Greenwashing” refers to the strategy of intentionally exaggerating a product’s environmental credentials in order to sell it, and nowhere has greenwashing been more generously used than in the promotion of the tar sands and the new and bigger pipelines that proponents hope will carry it around the world.

Greenwashing is fairly recent phenomenon—it was only added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 1999—but it has become commonplace as public concern has grown over the spate of environmental problems we now face, and as consumers demand “greener” products as a means of solving them. The most recent analysis by TerraChoice Environmental Marketing found that although the number of green products is growing, the marketing of more than 95 per cent of them still commits one the seven sins of greenwashing.

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