Monday, July 2, 2012

GREEN WASHING : A SOPHISTICATED WAY OF CAMOUFLAGING ENVIRONMENTAL MISDEEDS.


Developmental activities which are an integral part  of Corporate World  have been in the  centre stage of discussion specially in the context of sustainable development . 4 decades back in Stockholm in 1972 we started discussing seriously the negative impact of various developmental activities on the environment. UN conference on the Human Environment or Stockholm conference that led to creation of UN Environment Program followed by different initiatives  started by  different Nations centring around the conservation of Environment.

It is very well known fact that there is continuous need of various developmental interventions many of which are  much required for the very existence of human race. Corporate World has adopted various strategies to sustain the demand of their products and advertising their products is one of the most important strategies. It is a fact that consumerism has been greatly influenced or developed by the advertising action of the business. Its really surprising to know that the Corporate world has identified the importance of being environment friendly even before the starting of UN conference on the Human Environment or Stockholm conference in 1972. Two years before  on 22nd April 1970,  the first Earth Day  was held on April 22, 1970 where it was decided by  many industrialists  to advertise themselves as being friendly to the environment. According to as estimate, Public utilities spent 300 million dollars advertising themselves as clean and  green companies basically to lure the consumers in the name of eco-friendly or green product or conservation of nature.

In the latest  WWF Living Planet Report 2012 the impact of Corporate advertising is quantified stating  Corporate advertising converts our insecurities into a chain of wants, needs and excessive demands, which have made our ecological footprint exceed the planet's ability to produce resources and absorb emissions — by more than 50%” . So in other words the greed of getting more profit from the businesses of the Corporates is resulting into exhausting of resources at an alarming rate.

The other aspect of “consumerism – advertising relation” is the increased trend of green washing by the corporate world and the enhanced level of awareness in the area  of environmental conservation is main factor for the green washing. With the back ground of consideration for environment the green washing is now becoming the core agenda of advertising for more and more corporates.

The problem with the green washing is that for many of the businesses this environmentalism is not more than a routine and business slogan and a few of them only are committed and concerned towards the environment.

The biggest challenge for the Consumer or Citizen in this context is to identify between companies having genuine concern and those camouflaging their actions with green levels.

Equally pondering fact related to green washing is that money being spent on the green washing is 8 to 10 times more than the money earmarked for the  conservation or environmental protection/ mitigation  measures like pollution control or related research activities .

Whatsoever may be the dynamics of advertised induced consumerism and green washing; the ultimate loss is for the planet earth and its resources.

How can we alienate ourselves from this nexus or look behind the green fa├žade to know the facts?

What is your opinion?