Consumerism, greenwashing and the ‘bonfire of the environment’
Since the environment and appearing to be green are increasingly in vogue, yet consumerism is more rampant than ever, a curious corporate, consumer and governmental culture is emerging.
It’s the culture of ‘lets not and say we did’.
For example, let’s go on about cutting emissions, but then expand offshore drilling. Or let’s make our corporate logo a green flower and then have the worst environmental safety standards among all large oil companies. Let’s call ourselves the greenest government ever and then cut environmental programs. Let’s fight climate change by moving manufacturing to the developing world where emissions are less regulated and then blame everything on China.
Of course, we still need iPhones, computers and disposable plastic knick-knacks – and we need someone to dispose of or ‘recycle’ our iPhones, computers and disposable knick-knacks when the next models come out. We love that China can do this because it doesn’t affect our emissions levels. They do it cheaply and the pollution mostly stays over there – if only they’d stop all this economic growth and concomitant CO2 production.
BP’s firing of Tony Hayward is another ‘let’s not and say we did’. They’re an oil company. They don’t really need an environmental image, do they? Does firing Tony Hayward mean they’re going to be a green company now?
BP has not reached this level of corporate development. In common with most other oil companies, it spends a lot of its marketing budget assuring us that it’s obsessed with alternative forms of energy – that walking on to a BP forecourt and asking for petrol is like trying to buy a VHS cassette at the Apple store. “Petrol, you say? Not much call for that these days. Wouldn’t you rather a quick zap from a solar panel or wind turbine?”
–David Mitchell in the Observer
Read Andrew Simm’s piece in the Guardian about how the UK’s coalition government is pulling a ‘let’s not and say we did’ regarding the greening up of Britain:
See this article from Live Science for more on the topic of moving emissions from rich countries to developing ones:
And for a bit of fun, check out David Mitchell’s article in the Observer about greenwashing vs. honestly evil corporate identity: