Tuesday, 8 December 2009

::08 12 09::

There are a number of great things about this news story but I think the best is the empirical proof it provides that Australian's take wanking and thus being wankers to another level.

In other news, UK firms Easyjet and BP have been named worst ‘greenwashers’ by Consumer International in their annual Bad Companies Award. Hopenhagen gives other multinationals the chance jump on the COP15 bandwagon by adorning every flat surface in town with brand logos.

Greenwashing, the practice of companies who market themselves as environmentally friendly, has become a topic of hot discussion in Copenhagen. Rasmus Kjeldahl, Head of Consumers International and Director of the Danish Consumer Council, described greenwashing as businesses’ efforts to ride on the back of environmental concern and spin their products as environmentally friendly. ‘They mislead consumers.’

Easyjet is accused of greenwashing for using misleading information on its website that states it is more environmentally friendly to fly with them than drive a Toyota Prius. Another winner, BP, have attempted to garner an image of being environmentally friendly by committing to alternatives to fossil fuels. But, since launching an alternative fuels campaign in 2005, BP has cut their carbon reduction research budget from $1.5Bn in 2008 to $500m in 2009. However, Robert Wine, of BP said that they would still spend $8Bn before 2020.

Greenwashing masquerades as activism in central Copenhagen during the conference. Not surprisingly, ‘activist’, or rather advertist movement Hopenhagen is sponsored by Coke, Gap and BMW. It has a massive visual presence in the city. This is not surprising as it describes itself as a ‘movement generated by the International Advertising Association.’

Naomi Klein said, ‘The COP15 and the many surrounding events have become branding extravaganzas. There’s a huge globe in the city centre with a Siemens logo on and [Hopenhagen] is sponsored by Coke. That is a capitalization of hope.’ Coca-Cola is also accused of greenwashing by Comsumer International for promoting a range of plastic bottles earlier this year that are made partially from plants. Kjeldahl pointed out that this would only account for 15% of their output.

This Friday international corporations arrive in Copenhagen to take part in the Business Day at the Bella Centre. Greenwashing will fuel a day of direct action by activists who will demonstrate against the ‘illegal’ role played by corporations in democracy under the title Our Climate is Not Your Business.

Bad Company Awards 2009 – the ‘Winners’

Audi – for suggesting its diesel cars are clean and green.

BP – for talking up its renewable ambitions, but investing next to nothing.

EasyJet – for claiming its planes are greener than a hybrid car.

Microsoft – for marketing Windows 7 as green whilst encouraging consumers to
buy new PCs.

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