Greenwash & Public Relations

Battle lines are being drawn up as delegates gather for the summit. For some governments, it is an opportunity to promote the role of business in sustainable development. But many campaigners have the opposite goal: to stem the tide of corporate influence over social and environmental policy.
The food industry is working with politicians across the United States to rewrite laws in order to shield themselves from lawsuits based on obesity and related health problems.
In Canada's British Columbia, ExxonMobil, Talisman, Shell, and other energy giants are racing to tap the region's "sour gas". But the potential toxicity of the gas is being ignored.
The first Greenwash Award goes to Imperial Chemical Industries PLC (ICI)/Zeneca**, for its full page advertisement ''Paraquat and Nature Working in Perfect Harmony.''
NEW YORK -- CorpWatch warned today that the newly formed Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD), an industry grouping organized to influence the Earth Summit in 2002 will be scrutinized and monitored by NGOs concerned with excessive corporate influence at the UN.
A $50 billion plan by a Hong Kong based developer to cut a canal through Nicaragua to allow ocean going cargo ships cross back and forth from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean has suffered major setbacks after fierce opposition by environmentalists and local communities.
Since Aventis signed on to the Global Compact in July 2000, their genetically engineered StarLinkTM corn has illegally contaminated the food supply and seed stock. A look at the company's behavior regarding StarLink shows that before, during and after signing the Compact, Aventis violated Global Compact's Principle 7, which is drawn from the Rio Declaration and supports ''a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.''
In the months following the discovery and expose of Unilever's polluting practices in Kodaikanal, many of the responses and statements by the company have been contrary to facts. The time line below outlines a few. (Emphasis is the author's.)
Hedge fund billionaire George Soros is making a killing buying and selling farmland in South America after converting them to biofuel production. While this has caused the land prices to increase dramatically, the ecological impact is questionable.
Let's give credit where credit is due: When it comes to greenwash, Shell is simply superb.