Greenwashing: How Companies Lie to us

Written by Daniele Pieroni

 

Artwork by Daniele Pieroni

Leading an ecologically conscious life is important. Remaining educated and engaged is the initial step to improving our impact on the planet. The changes we adopt culminate in higher standards for our environments; ultimately leading to a carbon neutral system. Unfortunately for many, this goal isn’t a priority. Therefore it’s notable when corporations are seemingly committed to change, sharing our concerns. But things aren’t always as they appear to be. Often, corporations will cling at the opportunity of appearing concerned. Why is that exactly? 

Profit. Corporations guilty of wide scale pollution are aware of their negative practices. Yet, they can’t be outwardly critical without losing stock with their shareholders and consumer base. The moment a company admits to their wrongdoings, is the moment they admit to being a problem. Which isn’t good for business. On the other hand, appearing to care about the environment is. So how do you have the best of both worlds? Greenwashing.

Greenwashing is a fundamentally deceptive marketing strategy. Greenwashing’s power comes from the allure of being green. It allows for companies to reap the benefits of signaling grand gestures to the masses; without changing much of their practices. These grand gestures are usually tied to investments and promises, aimed at reassuring us that in time they’ll commit to what must be done. 

It is imperative to be conscious of these tactics in the marketplace. Learning to dig deep and expect more decisive action. Promises made for the next decade aren’t enough if corporations’ polluting output remains the same till then. Giants in their respective fields won’t feel any pressure if they’re praised for their efforts. Tech giants like Apple are particularly complicit in greenwashing. 

Apple claims that their facilities run on 100% renewable energy yet still operate on a “buy one every year” campaign. Instead of investing in continually upgradeable products, companies like Apple can continue with their practices while maintaining a positive image. They have a page dedicated to their mission of becoming more sustainable, whilst continuing to pollute; until 2030 that is when they plan on being completely carbon neutral.

 

References

Cawley, C. (2020, February 21). Big tech and climate action – Real change or greenwashing? Tech.co. https://tech.co/news/big-tech-climate-action-change-greenwashing-2020-02 

Environment. Apple. (n.d.). https://www.apple.com/environment/.