Bad Company Awards
Awards for dubious green claims
Consumers International, a global consumer watchdog group, has named Audi, easyjet, BP, CO2isgreen and Microsoft as winners of the international Bad Company Awards 2009.
Consumers International asserted that people around the globe have a “right to true and trusted information about the environmental impact of products and services,” and condemned the companies highlighted by the Awards for “dubious corporate green claims” and “playing up low-carbon credentials.”
Carmaker Audi was slammed for “suggesting, with a glossy advertising campaign, that its new diesel A3 is clean and does not harm the environment” and for implying that driving a car could be as green as riding a bicycle. BP was condemned for claiming to care about greenhouse gas emission while, according to CI, “dropping its investment in renewable energy, and pulling out of numerous renewable projects.”
Easyjet's continued claims that flying on one of its planes was less damaging to the planet that driving a hybrid car were also slated, as was Microsoft for highlighting the small energy savings associated with its new Windows 7 operating system, while suggesting that customers buy a new computer to run it on, using up much more in the way of energy and resources in its manufacturing process.
Oil industry funded 'not for profit' organisation CO2 is Green was given a 'special award' for trying to re-brand greenhouse gas emissions as beneficial for the environment. The organisation tries to claim that because CO2 is necessary for plant growth, emitting it is a 'green' act, ignoring the global scientific consensus on the damaging effects of excess CO2 emission from human activity.
According to Consumers International's Luke Upchurch,
“The impact of consumer behaviour on the environment is a crucial issue. With global climate negotiations underway in Copenhagen we want these awards to bring attention to the need for straight up facts about the green credentials of the products and services we buy.
“This year’s Bad Company Awards show that even some of the world’s biggest brands indulge in greenwashing,” Upchurch continued. “We’re calling for an end to dubious green claims and overplayed environmental credentials so that consumers can make informed, rational purchasing choices.”
Sarah Irving is a freelance writer specialising in environmental and social issues. This article was originally posted at Allvoices.