Have you heard of greenwashing? Greenwashing is referred to cases when companies encourage people and investors to use their services or products by advertising themselves as environmentally friendly and innovative towards greener future when in reality it is the opposite. There is a lot of greenwashing on and it is surprising how much companies invest in PR to promote their ‘green ways’ instead of actually making a move. Moreover, most of these companies are energy and oil companies that have the greatest power of making a change. There are some other companies who can also leave a big footprint while pretending to be green. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you the official Greenwasher of the year: Walmart.
So it was back in 2005 when Walmart introduced their plan to step forward as a sustainable green energy leader. Although their webpage has a number of pages of their great renewable sustainable energy plans etc. they have achieved absolutely nothing in these 9 years! So how about instead of investing in amazing PR, make a change and keep your promises. Walmarts excuse could not even be ‘low profit’, as they keep the chain growing massively by keeping wages low, buying and producing cheap and then emitting tons of CO2 by transporting all these goods. Geenwashing or not but you can ask yourself if these goods could be grown, produced, and transported without causing so much damage to the environment?
Obviously most of Walmarts PR is for their clients because if you have a closer look at their annual reports, they state out that their greenhouse gas footprint has grown 13.8 per cent since 2005. In the public reports and annual plans they make new promises and plans for sustainable green energy projects and reducing its carbon emission. They promise to use 100% renewable energy, create no waste and produce and sell products that sustain people and environment. Let me explain it a bit closer. 100% renewable energy is easily achievable. Other major chains like Staples, Whole Foods etc have already reached this target whereas Walmart is only using 5% of renewable energy. It’s because it is “sometimes difficult to find and fund renewable energy projects that meet Walmart’s ROI requirements”. In other words, they are only going to move from fossil fuels when it wont make a big imoact on their profits. So how do you make a reform without investments?
When it comes to sustainable products, this is where we can speak about the low wages and production costs. Its expansion wipes out more sustainable local small businesses and replace them with a global monolith. They are also known as the largest cargo shipment using company in the US. So please tell me,how is that ssutainable for people and environment when our cheap products come with a cost of third world sweat shops and high carbon emission?
Congratulations for the title for Walmart, you have won the Greenwasher 2014 title, leaving environment as the loser. Dear to argue?
Merilin Notton, MDX University