By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Greenwash: Big Brands and Carbon Scams
By Guy Pearse (Black Inc., $29.99, softcover, 264 pages)
The disclosures about marketer trickery will astound as Guy Pearse puts climate-friendly advertising on trial.
No matter what you spend your money on—flights, cars, electricity, fashion, fast food, freight, home appliances, entertainment, hotels, media, online shopping, coffee, pets, sport or even sex—you will marvel at some of the discrepancies. He compares the claims and campaigns by the world’s biggest brands with the carbon footprint of what they’re selling and what they’re actually doing.
Greenwash highlights the ‘gulf between the green revolution being advertised and the progress actually occurring’.
As a result, various less well-regarded names emerge as praiseworthy and some with the most respected reputations are exposed as the least acceptable.
Pearse explains that for many of the world’s big trademarks—from Kraft to Levi’s to Walmart—emissions often account for 90 per cent or more of their total carbon footprint.
He explains how big brands get away with their carbon scams and speaks of some conspicuous collaborations.
Looking beyond the carbon footprint of the individual products, no-one is safe and nothing is sacred: not the World Wildlife Fund, not the Toyota Prius or the Nissan LEAF, not Richard Branson, neither Leonardo DiCaprio nor Oprah, not even Earth Hour.
Calling on governments to take a reality check, Pearse justifiably calls for a rethink by greenwashing companies and consumers.
Companies are obliged to level with the public about the extent of their ambition, progress and the scale of the challenge they face.
If there is an upsurge in the overall carbon footprint of the products sold by a business, then it is “disingenuous for a brand to pretend that it’s climate-friendly”.
After this read, you’ll get a clearer picture and, hopefully, avoid greenwashed promotions.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.