Being green is hot right now. Nobody really wants to be seen as the harbinger of death; the company that is bringing about the destruction of the ecosystem we depend upon, just to make a quick buck.
However, there are those companies out there who are responsible for much of the habitat loss; much of the pollution that is endangering the lives of flora and fauna across the world, who see the green movement as a marketing opportunity. This has come to be known as “greenwashing”.
The Carbon Futures Report, published in 2017 found that just 100 companies, a mixture of investor owned and state owned, are responsible for 1 Trillion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. It found that:
the highest emitting companies since 1988 that are investor-owned include: ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Peabody, Total, and BHP Billiton. Key state-owned companies include Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, National Iranian Oil, Coal India, Pemex, and CNPC (PetroChina). Coal emissions from China are represented by the state, in which key state-owned producers include Shenhua Group, Datong Coal Mine Group, and China National Coal Group.
It’s understandable that these companies would want to distance themselves from their legacy, just as a murderer may wish to be remembered for the good that he or she may have done up until that point and, to their credit these companies have at least tried to be inventive in the ways they pretend to exhibit green credentials.
The exercise thing…
Ineos has lately doubled down on the physical activity thing. It sponsors a cycling team now, but has also been sponsoring a physical activity project for children. It’s less a “green” thing and more of a social responsibility thing. Maybe pretending to be green whilst attempting to frack much of rural England is a bit too much of a stretch.
The Daily Mile is promoted as “a social physical activity, with children running or jogging – at their own pace – in the fresh air with friends”. But campaigners say its promotion of “fresh air and a healthy lifestyle” is at odds with the reality of Ineos’s operations.
The please-don’t-ask-us-what-we-do thing…
One of the positive benefits of not being on social media at the moment is that I no longer have to see Shell, BP and Esso’s greenwashing exploits in the form of sponsored posts.
Shell is doubling down on its tree-planting, meanwhile increasing the supply of oil into the market:
Meanwhile, BP wants to solve climate change by selling us more oil.
Yeah, I know…
Unfortunately, whilst there is still a market for oil and gas, the likes of BP, Shell and Ineos will continue trying to provide it, usually with little regard for the consequences. It’s a bit like the narcotics industry. We know that heroin is massively destructive to people’s lives, but whilst there is a market for it, people will continue trying to make money from it.
The difference here is that the sale of oil and gas may eventually lead us into a situation where money no longer has a value, after society has collapsed and the last few humans are scrabbling around for the last of the food, choking on the toxic air and wading through plastic.
Money after all, is a social construct and its value is dependent upon there being a society that continues to value it. We’ve lost half of the world’s wildlife since the 1970s and as much as we like to pretend otherwise, we are a species of mammal that has the same biological needs as the creatures we are losing. How long do you think we have left?